On July 18, 2022, Soscia Holdings, LLC (“Soscia” or “Plaintiff”), represented by Patrick J. Dougherty, filed a civil rights lawsuit against State of Rhode Island, State of Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management and Terence Gray, (collectively, “DEM” or “Defendants”), seeking injunctive relief and damages for alleged deprivation of property rights. This case was filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Rhode Island, with Judges Mary S. McElroy and Lincoln D. Almond presiding.
In the complaint, Plaintiff stated, “Soscia Holdings, LLC, is a limited liability company organized and existing under the laws of the State of Rhode Island. The State of Rhode Island is a state existing under the Constitution of the United States of America (hereinafter called the ‘State’).”
Plaintiff alleged, “On or about March 3, 2020, Soscia Holdings did purchase from the Quidnick Reservoir Company, a Rhode Island Corporation, (‘Quidnick’) that certain Dam known as the Flat River Reservoir Dam together with the land and water rights of Quidnick located in the Town of Coventry including the water rights commonly known as Johnson’s Pond, all as evidenced by the real estate purchase and sale agreement, as amended by Agreement dated March 2, 2020, (‘Agreement’).”
The plaintiff further alleged, “The premises purchased by Soscia Holdings did contain a dam which restricted the flow of water flowing down the Pawtuxet River and created that certain body of water commonly known as ‘Johnson’s Pond’. The submerged land described in the Quitclaim Deed became submerged as a result of the construction and erection of the Flat River Reservoir Dam by Quidnick.”
Plaintiff also alleged, “The construction and erection of the Flat River Reservoir Dam dammed the waters of the Pawtuxet River thereby creating a reservoir commonly known as Johnson’s Pond. The construction of Flat River Reservoir Dam and the creation of Johnson’s Pond resulted from the acquisition by Quidnick of water rights pursuant to the 1846 act of the Rhode Island General Assembly accommodating the factories and mills along the Pawtuxet River.”
Plaintiff then alleged, “Quidnick did construct the dam and acquired flowage rights and purchased land for the purposes of exercising the exclusive franchise rights granted to it by the General Assembly. The water rights granted to Quidnick and sold to Soscia Holdings inure solely to the benefit, economic or otherwise, of Soscia Holdings.”
Plaintiff also alleged, “Together with the purchase of the submerged land and all of the rights, including water rights owned by Quidnick, Quidnick did assign all of its interest in and to the Lease to Soscia. On or about June 27, 2022, a bill was enacted by the Rhode Island General Assembly and signed into law by the Governor for the State of Rhode Island which is set forth in R.I.G.L. § 46-19.1-1 (‘Flat River Dam Act’).”
The plaintiff then alleged, “DEM did order Soscia to cease and desist from operating the Flat River Dam which it had purchased in a manner inconsistent with historic use as outlined in a letter sent by DEM on July 11, 2022, and further ordering Soscia to reduce stream flow to 24 cfs all as determined by DEM without having given Soscia a reasonable time or hearing which would permit Soscia to comment and be heard on the historic use of the Dam.”
Plaintiff listed four claims for relief, including claims for the alleged deprivation of property rights and intentional interference with contractual rights.
In the prayer for relief, Plaintiff requested a judgement granting injunctive relief. Plaintiff also requested an award for damages along with costs of litigation.
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Pending - Other Pending
Civil Right - Other Civil Right
Mary S. McElroy
Lincoln D. Almond
Soscia Holdings, LLC
State of Rhode Island
Director DEM Terence Gray
Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management
Patrick J. Dougherty
887 Boston Neck Road, Suite 1
Narragansett, RI 02882
(#1) COMPLAINT ( filing fee paid $ 402.00, receipt number ARIDC-1778027 ), filed by Soscia Holdings, LLC. (Attachments: #1 Civil Cover Sheet, #2 Summons, #3 Summons, #4 Summons)(Dougherty, Patrick) (Entered: 07/18/2022)
Civil Cover Sheet
(#2) CASE OPENING NOTICE ISSUED (DaCruz, Kayla) (Entered: 07/18/2022)
(#3) Summons Issued as to Terence Gray, Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management, State of Rhode Island. (Attachments: #1 Terence Gray Summons, #2 RI Dept of Enviro Mang Summons)(DaCruz, Kayla) (Entered: 07/19/2022)
Terence Gray Summons
RI Dept of Enviro Mang Summons
Docket(#3) Summons Issued as to Terence Gray, Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management, State of Rhode Island. (Attachments: #1 Terence Gray Summons, #2 RI Dept of Enviro Mang Summons)(DaCruz, Kayla) (Entered: 07/19/2022)Read MoreRead Less
Docket(#2) CASE OPENING NOTICE ISSUED (DaCruz, Kayla) (Entered: 07/18/2022)Read MoreRead Less
DocketCase assigned to District Judge Mary S. McElroy and Magistrate Judge Lincoln D. Almond. (DaCruz, Kayla) (Entered: 07/18/2022)Read MoreRead Less
Docket(#1) COMPLAINT ( filing fee paid $ 402.00, receipt number ARIDC-1778027 ), filed by Soscia Holdings, LLC. (Attachments: #1 Civil Cover Sheet, #2 Summons, #3 Summons, #4 Summons)(Dougherty, Patrick) (Entered: 07/18/2022)Read MoreRead Less