March 06, 2019

Vermont Supreme Court To Hear Cases At Vermont Law School On March 12

Vermont Supreme Court seal

The Vermont Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in five cases during the high court’s annual session at Vermont Law School on Tuesday, March 12, in Oakes Hall, Room 109, on the VLS campus. The session is open to the public and will be streamed live at vermontlaw.edu/live. Vermont Court Rules apply for media coverage.

The Court will consider the following cases:

9:00 a.m. - In re Morrisville Hydroelectric Project Water Quality, 2018-339

  • Are hydroelectric power generation and whitewater boating “existing uses” under Vermont water-quality regulations?  If so, may the environmental court include the conditions that it did in this case to promote those “existing uses”?
  • Is it appropriate to consider social and economic factors in reviewing water-quality certifications?
  • Is the 1.5-foot winter “drawdown” ordered by the environmental court supported by the evidence and compliant with Vermont’s Water Quality Standards?

10:30 a.m. - Katerina Nolan, as Administrator of the Estate of Parker J. Berry v. Stephen J. Fishman & Susan B. Fishman, 2018-261
Does the Vermont Recreational Use Act, which encourages owners to make their “open and undeveloped land” available to the public for recreational use by limiting their liability, apply to landowners who have permitted ongoing, daily, advertised use of their land for a private commercial venture operated by other family members?

11:00 a.m. - State of Vermont v. Treyez L. McEachin, 2017-365
Were defendant’s actions of walking toward police officers and swearing at them disorderly conduct? Did the arresting officers’ actions against defendant violate his constitutional rights, so that the court should have suppressed all evidence following those actions?

1:30 p.m. - James Ingerson v. Andrew Pallito, Commissioner, Department of Corrections & Leanne Salls, 2018-275
There are two leading issues in this case pertaining to sovereign immunity and negligence:

  1. Whether a claim of staff misconduct brought by a former inmate against the Vermont Department of Corrections is barred by sovereign immunity when, despite measures taken by the Department, a corrections officer engaged in an inappropriate sexual relationship with the inmate during his incarceration?
  2. If the claim is not barred, was the Department negligent in its duty to appropriately investigate the allegations of sexual conduct between the officer and the inmate?

2:00 p.m. - State of Vermont v. Onix Fonseca-Cintron, 2018-197
Should the court have provided a self-defense instruction to the jury in this aggravated domestic assault case, and did the assault support only one criminal offense, not three?