Rhode Island Superior Court Judge Silverstein ruled Tuesday, that Rhode Island State Representative Blake Filippi, in his role as the Republican Minority Leader, has actionable claims for violations of his Federal Constitutional Rights due to the exclusion of Filippi from the operations and oversight of the Joint Committee on Legislative Services. The next phase of Filippi’s lawsuit to enforce the law and create transparency in government? Negotiation? Discovery?

At stake? Insight into the tens of millions of dollars spent annually to run the Legislative Branch of what was, prior to the endless procession of Executive Orders by Governors Raimondo & McKee, the 3 co-equal branches of government. From plexiglass dividers to the orders for clearing the infamous black mold, oversight has largely been eliminated from the day-to-day operations of the General Assembly.

 

Legal Teams

 

For Plaintiff: Nicholas Gorham, Esq.
For Defendant: Cassandra A. DeAngelis, Esq.; Joseph Avanzato, Esq.;
Nicole J. Benjamin, Esq.; John Tarantino, Esq.;
Rajaram Suryanarayan, Esq.; Lauren E. Jones, Esq.;
Marc Desisto, Esq.

The Decision

Filippi v. Mattiello, PC-2020-00508

The Complaint

STATE OF RHODE ISLAND SUPERIOR COURT

PROVIDENCE, SC.

 

BLAKE A. FILIPPI, individually, and in his capacities as

MEMBER of the RHODE ISLAND HOUSE OF

REPRESENTATIVES, MINORITY LEADER of the

RHODE ISLAND HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES and MEMBER of

THE JOINT COMMITTEE ON LEGISLATIVE SERVICES

Plaintiff

 

v. C.A. No.: PC-2020-00508

NICHOLAS MATTIELLO, individually and in his

capacity as the former SPEAKER of the RHODE ISLAND

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES and CHAIRMAN of the

JOINT COMMITTEE ON LEGISLATIVE SERVICES;

DOMINICK RUGGERIO, individually and in his capacity as

PRESIDENT of the RHODE ISLAND SENATE and VICE CHAIRMAN

of the JOINT COMMITTEE ON LEGISLATIVE SERVICES; K.

JOSEPH SHEKARCHI, individually and in his capacity as

SPEAKER of the RHODE ISLAND HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

and CHAIRMAN of the JOINT COMMITTEE ON LEGISLATIVE SERVICES;

CHRISTOPHER BLAZEJEWSKI, individually and in his capacity as

MAJORITY LEADER of the RHODE ISLAND HOUSE OF

REPRENTATIVES and MEMBER of the JOINT COMMITTEE ON

LEGISLATIVE SERVICES; DENNIS ALGIERE, individually and

in his capacity as MINORITY LEADER of the RHODE ISLAND SENATE

and MEMBER of the JOINT COMMITTEE ON LEGISLATIVE SERVICES;

FRANK MONTANARO, individually and in his capacity as the former

EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR of the JOINT COMMITTEE ON LEGISLATIVE

SERVICES; HENRY KINCH, individually and in his capacity as the

EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR of the JOINT COMMITTEE ON LEGISLATIVE

SERVICES; SETH MAGAZINER, individually and in his capacity as GENERAL TREASURER of the STATE OF RHODE ISLAND; and PETER KEENAN,

individually and in his capacity as STATE CONTROLLER.

Defendants

PLAINTIFF’S SECOND AMENDED COMPLAINT

PARTIES

1. Plaintiff, Blake A. Filippi is a resident of the 36th Representative District, the duly elected Rhode Island State Representative for the 36th Representative District, serves as the Minority Leader for the House of Representatives, is a Member of the Joint Committee on Legislative Services (JCLS), and brings this action in his individual and official capacities.

2. Defendant, K. Joseph Shekarchi is the duly elected Rhode Island State Representative for the 23rd Representative District, and serves as the Speaker of the House of Representatives and Chairman/Member of the JCLS, and is sued individually and in his official capacities.

3. Defendant, Nicholas Mattiello is the former Rhode Island Representative from the 15th Representative District, former Speaker of the House of Representatives and former Chairman/Member of JCLS, and is sued individually and in his former official capacities.

4. Defendant, Dominick Ruggerio is the duly elected State Senator from the 4th Senatorial District, and serves as the President of the Senate and Vice Chairman/Member of the JCLS, and is sued individually and in his official capacities.

5. Defendant Christopher Blazejewski Rhode Island Representative from the 2nd Representative District, serves as the Majority Leader of the House of Representatives and Member of the JCLS, and is sued individually and in his official capacities.

6. Defendant, Dennis Algiere is the Rhode Island Senator from the 38th Senatorial District, and serves as the Minority Leader of the Senate and Member of the JCLS, and is sued individually and in his official capacities.

7. Defendant, Frank Montanaro is the former purported Executive Director of the JCLS and is sued individually and in his official capacity.

8. Defendant, Henry Kinch is the purported Executive Director of the JCLS and is sued individually and in his official capacity.

9. Defendant, Seth Magaziner is the General Treasurer of the State of Rhode Island and is sued individually and in his official capacity.

10. Defendant Peter Keenan is the State Controller, within the Office of Accounts and Control and Department of Administration, and is sued individually and in his official capacity.

JURISDICTION AND VENUE

11. Subject matter jurisdiction in this case is properly conferred on the Rhode Island Superior Court pursuant to Rhode Island General Law § § 9-30-1, et. seq., & 8-2-14, Rule 57 and 65 of the Rhode Island Rules of Civil Procedure, and 42 U.S.C § § 1983, 1985, & 1986, and the precedent set forth in Licht v. Quattrocchi, 454 A.2d 1210 (R.I. 1982) and DiCiantis v. Wall 795 A.2d 1121 (R.I. 2002).

FACTS APPLICABLE TO ALL COUNTS

12. Pursuant to the Rhode Island General Laws § § 22-11-1 & 22-11-2, the current members and officers of JCLS are:

· Member and Chairman: Speaker of the House of Representatives K. Joseph Shekarchi.

· Member and Vice-Chairman: President of the Senate, Dominic Ruggerio

· Member: House Majority Leader, Christopher Blazejewski

· Member: House Minority Leader, Blake Filippi

· Member: Senate Minority Leader, Dennis Algiere.

 

13. The JCLS is empowered by statute to act on all administrative matters affecting the operation of the general assembly, RIGL § § 22-11-3 & 22-11-4, appoint and oversee a Law Revision Director, RIGL § 22-11-3.2, appoint and oversee an Auditor General, 22-13-1 et seq., & set the compensation for certain legislative employees and pages, R.I.G.L. § 22-6-1 et seq.

 

14. The JCLS has not enacted rules or regulations that would purport to empower the individual members of the JCLS, or the Executive Director of the JCLS, to exercise the authority of the JCLS.

 

15. Defendants Mattiello, Shekarchi, Blazejewski, Ruggiero, Algiere, Montanaro and Kinch have engaged in a continuous course of conduct, both individually and/or collectively, to exclude Plaintiff from his right to participate in the operations of the JCLS.

 

16. Without meetings of the JCLS and without a JCLS vote or approval, Defendants Mattiello, Shekarchi, Ruggiero, and/or Algiere appointed the former purported Executive Director of the JCLS, Defendant Montanaro.

 

17. Defendants Montanaro, Mattiello, Shekarchi, Ruggiero, and/or Algiere then exercised the functions of the JCLS, without meetings of the JCLS, and to the exclusion of the Plaintiff.

 

18. Without meetings of JCLS and without a JCLS vote or approval, Defendants Shekarchi, Blazejewski, Ruggiero, and/or Algiere appointed the current purported Executive Director of the JCLS, Defendant Kinch.

 

19. Defendants Kinch Shekarchi, Blazejewski, Ruggiero, and/or Algiere exercise functions of the JCLS, and to the exclusion of the Plaintiff.

 

20. Without meetings of JCLS and without JCLS approval, Defendant Keenan, in his capacity as State Controller, unlawfully approved unauthorized JCLS expenditures drawn on the General Treasurer at the request of Defendants Mattiello, Shekarchi, Ruggiero, Algiere and/or Montanaro.

 

21. Without meetings of JCLS and without JCLS approval, Defendant Keenan, in his capacity as State Controller, continues to unlawfully approve unauthorized JCLS expenditures drawn on the General Treasurer at the request of Defendants Shekarchi, Blazejewski, Ruggiero, Algiere and/or Kinch, which approvals are in violation of his duties and functions as set forth in violation of Chapter 6 of Title 35 of the General Laws of Rhode Island, 1956

 

22. Defendant Magaziner, in his capacity as General Treasurer of the State of Rhode Island, has issued unlawful payment for the unauthorized JCLS expenditures as set forth in Paragraph 20 at the request of Defendants Mattiello, Shekarchi, Ruggiero, Algiere, Montanaro and/or Keenan in violation of his authority and duties set forth in Chapter 10 of Title 42 of the General Laws of the State of Rhode Island, 1956.

 

23. Defendant Magaziner, in his capacity as General Treasurer of the State of Rhode Island, continues to unlawfully issue payment for unauthorized JCLS expenditures as set forth in Paragraph 21 at the request of Defendants Shekarchi, Blazejewski, Ruggiero, Algiere, Kinch and/or Keenan.

 

24. The exclusion of Plaintiff from the JCLS denies his individual and official rights, as a resident of the 36th Representative District, State Representative, member of the House Minority Caucus, and member of the JCLS, to participate, voice his opinion, and vote as a member of the JCLS, including but not limited to actions to hire JCLS employees and set compensation; control House and Senate appropriations; approve JCLS contracts; manage the printing of the General Assembly; appoint a Law Revision Director; Appoint an Auditor General; maintain, repair and renovate the State Capitol Building; procure office space, supplies, equipment, and professional and technical assistants for the General Assembly; maintain the records of the General Assembly; maintain the security and integrity of the information system of the General Assembly; procure and maintain the electronic voting devices for the General Assembly; and operate the legislative grant program.

 

25. Plaintiff has not been provided any justification for, notice of, hearing about, or opportunity to contest his exclusion from the operations of the JCLS.

 

26. Plaintiff has called a meeting of the JCLS, but the remaining JCLS members refused to attend.

 

27. Upon information and belief, Defendants have excluded Plaintiff from the operations of the JCLS in-part because Plaintiff is an outspoken member of a minority political party.

 

28. Upon information and belief, Defendants together have conspired to deprive Plaintiff of his right to participate in the operations of the JCLS.

 

29. At times relevant hereto, Defendants have acted under color of state statute, regulation, custom and/or usage.

 

 

 

 

COUNT I – DECLARATORY JUDGMENT

 

30. Plaintiff incorporates paragraphs 1 through 29 as if fully set forth herein.

 

31. This Honorable Court has the authority to grant Declaratory Relief as provided by the Uniform Declaratory Judgments Act, R.I.G.L. § 9-30-1, et seq., which imbues the Court with the “power to declare rights, status, and other legal relations… and such declarations shall have the force and effect of a final judgment or decree.”

 

 

COUNT II – PRELIMINARY AND PERMANENT INJUNCTION

 

32. Plaintiff incorporates paragraphs 1 through 31 as if fully set forth herein.

 

33. The actions of Defendants have and will continue to cause irreparable harm to Plaintiff who has no adequate remedy at law.

 

 

COUNT III – 42 U.S.C § 1983

CIVIL ACTION FOR DEPRIVATION OF RIGHTS

DEFEENDANTS SHEKARCHI, RUGGERIO, BLAZEJEWSKI, ALGIERE & MATTIELLO

 

34. Plaintiff incorporates paragraphs 1 through 33 as if fully set forth herein.

 

35. The actions, inactions and/or agreement(s) of Defendants Shekarchi, Ruggerio, Blazejewski, Algiere and Mattiello have deprived Plaintiff of his personal and official rights and responsibilities as a resident of the 36th Representative District, State Representative, the Minority Leader for the House of Representatives, and as a Member of the Joint Committee on Legislative Services (JCLS), in violation of the Constitution of the United States of America, including: (a) Amendment I, Freedom of Speech and Freedom of Assembly; (b) Amendments V and XIV, Due Process; and (b) Amendment XIV, Equal protection.

 

36. Plaintiff has been damaged thereby and is entitled to monetary and injunctive relief.

 

COUNT IV – 42 U.S.C § 1983

CIVIL ACTION FOR DEPRIVATION OF RIGHTS

DEFENDANTS MAGAZINER, KEENAN, MONTANARO & KINCH

 

37. Plaintiff incorporates paragraphs 1 through 36 as if fully set forth herein.

 

38. The actions, inactions and/or agreement(s) of Defendants Magaziner, Keenan, Montanaro and Kinch have deprived Plaintiff of his personal and official rights and responsibilities as a resident of the 36th Representative District, State Representative, the Minority Leader for the House of Representatives, and as a Member of the Joint Committee on Legislative Services (JCLS), in violation of the Constitution of the United States of America, including: (a) Amendment I, Freedom of Speech and Freedom of Assembly; (b) Amendments V and XIV, Due Process; and (b) Amendment XIV, Equal protection.

 

39. Plaintiff has been damaged thereby and is entitled monetary and to injunctive relief.

 

 

COUNT V – 42 U.S.C § 1985

CONSPIRACY TO INTERFERE WITH CIVIL RIGHTS

DEFENDANTS SHEKARCHI, RUGGERIO, BLAZEJEWSKI, ALGIERE, MATTIELLO MAGAZINER, KEENAN, MONTANARO & KINCH

 

40. Plaintiff incorporates paragraphs 1 through 39 as if fully set forth herein.

 

41. Upon information and belief, Defendants Shekarchi, Ruggerio, Blazejewski, Algiere, Mattiello, Magaziner, Keenan, Montanaro and Kinch, some or all of them, conspired to deprive Plaintiff of his personal and official rights and responsibilities as a resident of the 36th Representative District, State Representative, the Minority Leader for the House of Representatives, and as a Member of the Joint Committee on Legislative Services (JCLS), in violation of the Constitution of the United States of America, including: (a) Amendment I, Freedom of Speech and Freedom of Assembly; (b) Amendments V and XIV, Due Process; and (b) Amendment XIV, Equal protection.

 

42. Defendants, some or all of them, have taken affirmative acts in furtherance of said conspiracy.

 

43. Plaintiff has been damaged thereby and is entitled monetary relief.

 

COUNT VI – 42 U.S.C § 1986

ACTION FOR NEGLECT TO PREVENT

DEFENDANTS SHEKARCHI, RUGGERIO, BLAZEJEWSKI, ALGIERE, MATTIELLO, MAGAZINER, KEENAN, MONTANARO & KINCH

 

 

44. Plaintiff incorporates paragraphs 1 through 43 as if fully set forth herein.

 

45. Defendants Magaziner, Keenan, Montanaro and Kinch had, and currently have, knowledge of the past, present and future wrongs conspired to be done to Plaintiff, and

despite having the power to prevent or aid in the preventing the commission of the same, Defendants Magaziner, Keenan, Montanaro and Kinch neglect to or refuse to do so.

 

46. Plaintiff has been damaged thereby and is entitled monetary relief.

 

WHEREFORE, Plaintiff respectfully requests:

 

(a) Declarations pursuant to Rhode Island General Law § 9-30-1, et. seq. and Rule 57 of the Rhode Island Superior Court Rules of Civil Procedure that:

 

1. Defendant Mattiello and Defendant Montanaro violated § 22-11-1, et. seq., § 22-13-1, et. seq., and/or § 22-6-1 et seq.§ 22-11-1, et. seq. by making decisions on behalf of JCLS without meetings of JCLS and without JCLS approval since at least the time that Plaintiff became Minority Leader/Member of JCLS.

2. Defendant Mattiello and Defendant Montanaro violated the Rhode Island General Laws by directing the Auditor General to commence an audit the Rhode Island Convention Center Authority without approval of the majority of JCLS members. 3. That JCLS acts through a majority of its members, and that JCLS has not delegated its statutory authority to Defendant Mattiello.

 

4. That Defendant Kinch is unlawfully serving as Executive Director of JCLS, and that the positon of Executive Director is vacant.

5. That the Actions of Defendants deprive Plaintiff of his rights as a resident of the 36th Representative District, an elected Representative, the House Minority Leader, and a member of the JCLS, in violation of Constitution of the United States of America.

(b) Preliminary and permanent injunctions restraining and enjoining Defendant Shekarchi, Defendant Kinch, Defendant Keenan and Defendant Magaziner from taking any action which would usurp, or serve to usurp, the statutory responsibilities of JCLS, including those in R.I. Gen. Laws § § 22-11-1, et. seq., § 22-13-1, et. seq. and § 22-6-1 et seq.

 

(c) Preliminary and permanent injunctions restraining Defendants Shekarchi, Ruggerio, Blazejewski and Algiere from taking any action that deprives Plaintiff of his personal and official rights and responsibilities as a resident of the 36th Representative District, elected Representative, the Minority Leader for the House of Representatives, and as a Member of the Joint Committee on Legislative Services (JCLS), in violation of the Constitution of the United States of America.

 

(d) Preliminary and permanent injunctions restraining Defendants Magaziner, Keenan and Kinch from taking any action that deprives Plaintiff of his personal and official rights and responsibilities as a resident of the 36th Representative District, elected Representative, the Minority Leader for the House of Representatives, and as a Member of the Joint Committee on Legislative Services (JCLS), in violation of the Constitution of the United States of America.

 

(d) Damages of $50.00 from each defendant.

 

(e) Attorney fees and costs.

 

(f) Any other relief this honorable Court deems just and proper.

 

 

PLAINTIFF HEREBY DEMANDS A JURY TRIAL ON ALL ISSUES SO TRIABLE

 

Respectfully submitted,

Plaintiff, BLAKE FILIPPI

By his Attorney,

 

 

/s/ NICHOLAS GORHAM

________ ____, 2021 ________________________________

 

 

 

VERIFICATION

 

I, Blake Filippi, do hereby swear that to the best of my knowledge the foregoing allegations are true and accurate.

 

________________________________

 

Subscribed and sworn to before me on this ___ day of __________, 2021.

 

________________________________

Notary Public

My Commission Expires:

 

 

 

 

 

 

CERTIFICATION TO THE ATTORNEY GENERAL

 

I hereby certify that I forwarded a true copy of the within Complaint to the Honorable Peter Neronha, Attorney General for the State of Rhode Island, 150 South Main Street, Providence, RI 02903 by first class mail, postage prepaid on ____________, 2021.

 

________________________________

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