Environment | Law

1st Circuit rules for state in dispute over Narragansett site

A developer can't sue the state of Rhode Island in federal court for stalled work at a site that the Narragansett Tribe wants to protect, the 1st Circuit Court of Appeals ruled on May 23.

Downing/Salt Pond Partners already put up 26 of 79 proposed homes on a 67-acre tract when a historic Indian village was uncovered. Archaeologists found burial grounds, structures, tools and other artifacts.

"[M]any artifacts had been found in the course of the Salt Pond development project indicating that the land was likely a former Narragansett Indian settlement," the 1st Circuit wrote in the decision.

The Coastal Resources Management Council halted work on the site in 1992. The court said any damage claims the developer might raise can only be resolved in state court.

The site dates to the 1300s.

Get the Story:
First Circuit sides with R.I. AG (Legal News Wire 5/31)
Appeals court rules against developer of a R.I. subdivision on site of Native American village (The Providence Journal 5/30)

1st Circuit Decision:
Downing/Salt Pond Partners v. Rhode Island (May 23, 2011)

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