65 A.3d 480 (R.I. 2013), 2013-66-Appeal, Town of North Kingstown v. International Ass'n of Firefighters, Local 1651, AFL-CIO

Docket Nº:2013-66-Appeal, 2013-44-Appeal.
Citation:65 A.3d 480
Party Name:TOWN OF NORTH KINGSTOWN v. INTERNATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF FIREFIGHTERS, LOCAL 1651, AFL-CIO et al.
Attorney:Daniel K. Kinder, Esq., for Plaintiff. Marc B. Gursky, Esq., for Defendant.
Judge Panel:Justice Robinson did not participate.
Case Date:May 10, 2013
Court:Supreme Court of Rhode Island
 
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Page 480

65 A.3d 480 (R.I. 2013)

TOWN OF NORTH KINGSTOWN

v.

INTERNATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF FIREFIGHTERS, LOCAL 1651, AFL-CIO et al.

Nos. 2013-66-Appeal, 2013-44-Appeal.

Supreme Court of Rhode Island.

May 10, 2013

Daniel K. Kinder, Esq., for Plaintiff.

Marc B. Gursky, Esq., for Defendant.

ORDER

This litigation stems from a labor dispute between the Town of North Kingstown (the town) and the North Kingstown Firefighters, Local 1651, International Association of Firefighters, AFL-CIO (the union). After neither party timely requested interest arbitration for the 2011-2012 contract year, the town unilaterally implemented an ordinance which significantly changed the firefighters' wages, hours, and terms and conditions of employment.

On December 14, 2012, a hearing justice of the Superior Court issued a lengthy decision, in which he granted the town's motion to stay interest arbitration with the union for the 2011-2012 contract year, issued related declaratory relief, and also issued an unrequested mandatory injunction, which directed the town to " ‘ unring the bell’ * * * as to wages, hours, and other terms and conditions of employment [and to] go back to the state that existed pre-unilateral implementation." An order to that effect entered on February 5, 2013. Thereafter, at the town's request, the hearing justice entered final judgment, pursuant to Rule 54(b) of the Superior Court Rules of Civil Procedure.1

Page 481

As part of its appeal, the town first moved for a stay in the lower court on February 6, 2013, which was denied by the hearing justice in a bench decision that same day. In accordance with Article I, Rule 8 of the Supreme Court Rules of Appellate Procedure,2 the case then came before this Court, as a duty matter, in which the town moved for a stay of the hearing justice's order and the subsequent Rule 54(b) judgment, pending an appeal. On February 7, 2013, the duty justice issued an order temporarily granting the stay pending further consideration thereof by the full Court at its conference scheduled for February 14, 2013. The issuance of that stay was also conditioned on the parties' agreement to continue discussions concerning their labor dispute.

Following that conference, on February 18, 2013, we issued an order, again temporarily continuing the stay and directing the parties to submit the above-referenced Rule 54(b) judgment to the Court because it had not accompanied the town's motion to stay. That order further directed the parties to continue with their negotiations until consideration by the full Court at our conference scheduled for March 21, 2013.

In the interim, the parties entered into appellate mediation, which ultimately proved unsuccessful. Following our conference on March 21, 2013, we then issued an order assigning the motion for a stay to our oral argument calendar for April 30, 2013.

In Narragansett Electric Co. v. Harsch, 367 A.2d 195, 197 (R.I.1976), we held that this Court will not issue a stay unless the moving party " makes a ‘ strong showing’ that (1) it will prevail on the merits of its appeal; (2) it will suffer irreparable harm if the stay is not granted; (3) no substantial harm will come to other interested parties; and (4) a stay will not harm the public interest." This Court's rule governing motions to stay is modeled after Rule 8...

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