AGO OM 12-19.

Case Date:April 19, 2012
Court:Rhode Island
Rhode Island Attorney General Opinions 2012. AGO OM 12-19. April 19, 2012 OM 12-19 Mr. Kevin Maloney(fn1) Re: Maloney, et. al. v. North Kingstown Planning Commission Dear Mr. Maloney: Your Open Meetings Act ("OMA") complaint against the North Kingstown Planning Commission ("Planning Commission") has been forwarded to me for response. By your undated correspondence received by this Department on January 18, 2012, you allege the Planning Commission violated the OMA during its May 17, 2011 meeting when members of the Planning Commission discussed a matter, namely the new Town ordinance entitled "Compact Village Development" when that matter was not listed on the meeting agenda. Respectfully, we are not able to reach the merits of the alleged violation due to the expiration of the Attorney General's statute of limitations. The OMA, specifically R.I. Gen. Laws §42-46-8(b), sets forth the applicable statute of limitations and provides:
"No complaint may be filed by the attorney general after one hundred eighty (180) days from the date of public approval of the minutes of the meeting at which the alleged violation occurred, or, in the case of an unannounced or improperly closed meeting, after one hundred eighty (180) days from the public action of the public body revealing the alleged violation, whichever is greater."
It is within this one hundred eighty (180) day time frame that the Attorney General must investigate and determine whether to file a complaint in Superior Court. In this case, the minutes of the May 17, 2011 meeting were publicly approved on June 21, 2011. Therefore, the Attorney General's statute of limitations in this case expired one hundred eighty (180) days from June 21, 2011 or on or about December 18, 2011. Therefore, there is little question that the statute of limitations in this case expired before you filed your complaint, which was received by this Department on January 18, 2012. While the expiration of the statute of limitations for this Department to file a lawsuit in Superior Court does not necessarily bar this Department from reviewing a complaint and issuing a finding, under similar circumstances when the statute of limitations has expired or is about to expire before a complaint is filed with this Department, we have consistently, but respectfully, declined to issue what would...

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