Case Details


Attorney General Control Of Litigation, Standing To Sue.

Filing State



Rhode Island Supreme Court




Newport Realty, Inc. v. Lynch, 878 A.2d 1021 (R.I. 2005)


Attorney General has authority to enforce rights involving local roads, where the public has an interest in continued use of the land.

Case Description

In a case involving the ownership of several streets on a wharf in Newport, the trial court held that plaintiffs owned the property. The Attorney General, representing the state, appealed. Plaintiffs argued that the Attorney General had no standing to enforce rights involving local roads. The Rhode Island Supreme Court held that the state’s Attorney General had standing to represent the state in the case. Addressing the issue of standing, the court said, “This Court has recognized that the Attorney General is vested with the authority to maintain suits seeking redress of a public wrong, except in such instances “where one of the public who is injured has a distinct personal legal interest different from that of the public at large * * *.” In this case, . . . North Commercial Wharf, Scott’s Wharf, and the connector, are significantly incidental to commerce and tourism in the City of Newport. Because [plaintiff] seeks a judicial declaration of the private nature of the property, its cause of action thereby implicates the public’s interest in the continued use and enjoyment of the land. This alone justifies the Attorney General’s involvement in this litigation.”