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Kennedy v. Cumberland Engineering Co.

471 A.2d 195 (1984)

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Kennedy v. Cumberland Engineering Co.

Rhode Island Supreme Court

471 A.2d 195 (1984)

Facts

In 1978, Charles Kennedy (plaintiff) lost three of his fingers while using a machine that he had purchased in 1969. Rhode Island General Law § 9-1-14 provided a three-year statute of limitations for personal injury claims. In 1981, less than three years after his injury, Kennedy sued the machine’s manufacturer, Cumberland Engineering Co. (Cumberland) (defendant). Cumberland filed a motion for summary judgment, claiming that Kennedy’s action was barred by General Law § 9-1-13(b). Section 9-1-13(b) set an absolute limit of 10 years from the date of purchase for products liability suits. The trial court granted the motion and entered judgment in favor of Cumberland. Kennedy appealed. He argued that § 9-1-13(b) violated both the federal and state constitution. Specifically, Article I, Section 5 of the Rhode Island Constitution provided that all people should have recourse to the law for their injuries.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Shea, J.)

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