R.I. Pools Inc. v. Paramount Concrete Inc.
A court can approve a request for a bill of discovery, if a plaintiff establishes probable cause for a potential cause of action. The plaintiff, R.I. Pools Inc., sued Paramount Concrete Inc., alleging that defective concrete resulted in cracks and damages to 19 pools and spas built by the plaintiff. A jury returned a plaintiff's verdict that resulted in an award of $2.7 million. In 2011, Superior Court Judge John Blawie approved, as punitive damages, approximately $252,392 for Attorneys Raymond Plouffe and Jeffrey Blueweiss, of Bai Pollock Blueweiss & Mulcahy, and $442,000 for Attorney Thomas O'Dea, of Halloran & Sage. Paramount Concrete, which apparently is judgment proof, appealed. The plaintiff requested a bill of discovery in connection with a potential cause of action to pierce the corporate veil. A bill of discovery is an independent action in equity for the purposes of discovery. It is designed to obtain evidence for use in a potential action. "In order to sustain the Bill," wrote the court, "the petitioner must demonstrate that what it seeks to discover is material and necessary for proof, or is needed to aid in proof of/or in defense of another action already brought or about to be brought." The plaintiff's petition alleged that Carlo or Grace Vona dominated and controlled Paramount Concrete and treated its assets and workers as interchangeable with their own and those of Paramount Stone. Carlo and Grace Vona and Paramount Stone were not parties to the plaintiff's products liability action. The court found that the plaintiff possesses a reasonable and well-founded suspicion of wrongdoing. Probable cause exists that the plaintiff possesses a cause of action for piercing the corporate veil against Carlo or Grace Vona and Paramount Stone. Granting the bill of discovery will permit the plaintiff to confirm whether a cause of action exists. The court granted the plaintiff's petition for a bill of discovery.