Rhode Island Supreme Court Unsympathetic to Builder Error

“Measure twice, cut once.”  It’s an age old adage that can be worth its weight in gold. The Rhode Island Supreme Court seems to have subscribed to the adage in a recent decision.

 The Court ruled that a $1.8 million dollar home must be moved or demolished. The home was constructed entirely on private land dedicated to use as a public park.

The ocean-front parcel at issue was purchased in 1984. Shortly after, an engineering firm was hired to subdivide the parcel. Nearly thirty years later, Warwick Developer Robert C. Lamoureax’s construction company, Four Twenty, completed the luxurious 3-story structure adorned with a rooftop cabana in 2011. A prospective buyer for the abode entered into a purchase and sale agreement and began putting the home through its paces. That’s when the deal went sideways. The buyer’s survey reveled the footprint of the home was situated entirely on the adjacent parcel – legally speaking, a permanent trespasser. Lamoureaux immediately contacted the trustees of the park, but the two parties failed to reach an amicable solution and the Foundation filed suit.

The developer’s attorney argued the court could reach a decision short of removal. The court disagreed. It found that allowing the structure to remain within Rose Nulman Park would constitute “an unjust result” and constitute “a judicial taking of private property for private benefit.” The full decision can be read here.