Benjamin C. Caldwell

Partner

Providence, RI
D: 401.330.1751

"I take pride in solving difficult problems through implementing creative and efficient strategies in the often overlapping contexts of litigation and dispute resolution."

Overview
Bar Admissions

Rhode Island

Massachusetts

New Jersey

Pennsylvania

U.S. District Courts for the Districts of Rhode Island, Massachusetts and New Jersey

U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit

Education

J.D., Emory University School of Law, 2006

B.A., Economics and Comparative Government, Bowdoin College, 2003

As a member of the firm's Business Litigation, Probate & Trust Litigation, and Tax Controversy & Litigation groups, Benjamin Caldwell brings a unique perspective and wide range of experience to his cases. Benjamin concentrates his practice in corporate and commercial litigation, alternative dispute resolution, and tax controversies and appeals. He also frequently advises fiduciaries in all aspects of trust administration and related court proceedings. He has litigated numerous matters before federal and state courts and arbitration panels throughout the United States.

Benjamin routinely represents banking and financial institutions, real estate interests, energy companies, manufacturers, closely held business and individuals in a wide variety of commercial and regulatory disputes. He has successfully secured favorable judgments for his clients through multiple trials and has often obtained summary adjudication in favor of clients through dispositive motion practice.

Benjamin values open communication and collaboration with each of his clients to ensure expectations and objectives are met. He approaches each case differently based on the individual goals and aspirations of each client.

Experience

Experience

Business Litigation

  • Obtained $150,000 recovery for client through out-of-court settlement agreement following a summary judgment filing against the defendant on a breach of guaranty count. (2016).
  • After filing for summary judgment against defendant on a Rhode Island Uniform Fraudulent Transfer Act count relating to a real property conveyance from joint tenancy to tenancy by the entirety, obtained $60,000 recovery for client through out-of-court settlement agreement. (2016).
  • Obtained Court approval of $420,000 first priority claim in a receivership estate over the objection of the petitioner that the client/claimant did not take possession of the underlying note as a holder in due course. Smith v. CAS, LLC, 2015 R.I. Super. LEXIS 101 (R.I. Super. Ct., Mar. 25, 2014).
  • Succeeded in dismissal via summary judgment of multi-million dollar lawsuit against Boston-based depository bank brought by drawer in Uniform Commercial Code dispute. Admirals Bank (f/k/a Domestic Bank) v. Urbaez, 2014 R.I. Super. LEXIS 43 (R.I. Super. Ct., Nov. 19, 2014).
  • Obtained dismissal via summary judgment on breach of fiduciary duty, negligence and Chapter 93A claims against banking institution. Court agreed with asserted positions that (a) relationship between the bank and customer was merely one of debtor and creditor and did not establish fiduciary duty, (b) the bank had no common law tort duty of care and (c) there is no evidence to support a finding of deception or unfairness.  Olson v. Sovereign Bancorp, Inc., 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 24826 (D. Mass., Feb. 28, 2012).

 Trust and Probate Litigation

  • Effectuated Court-approved global settlement of related Rhode Island estate, Living Trust, Qualified Subchapter S Trust (“QSST”), and closely held company which collectively held assets valued in excess of $4 million. Settlement involved voiding a purported Rescission of the QSST and judicial reformation of the Living Trust and QSST. (2016).
  • In context of global settlement involving five separate trusts, obtained Court-approval for complete distribution and early termination of said trusts along with Court-ratification of releases for corporate trustee client. (2016).
  • Effectuated Court-approved global settlement of multiple Massachusetts Probate Court actions whereby through three separate sets of assignments client received 100% interest in intellectual property rights in underlying work. (2016).
  • In case involving self-dealing trustee who refused to account for trust assets or make trust distributions, obtained Court-appointed independent accounting, and then through a Court-appointed settlement removal of trustee and a final trust distribution to client in the amount of $112,000. (2015).
  • Granted summary judgment on behalf of children of decedent in case where an ex-spouse seized control of $340,000 of decedent’s retirement proceeds through the use of an outdated, pre-divorce beneficiary designation.  Court agreed with asserted position that through a Property Settlement Agreement the ex-spouse had waived any rights she had to decedent’s property. Strauss v. Mallicoat, 2014 R.I. Super. LEXIS 157 (R.I. Super. Ct., Nov. 19, 2014).
  • Successfully defended corporate trustee of nine irrevocable trusts from hostile removal attempt by co-trustees.  In a decision of first impression, the Court agreed with the asserted position that neither the Restatement (Third) of Trusts’ doctrine of equitable deviation nor the Uniform Trust Code’s no-fault trustee removal provision can serve as the basis for a contested trustee removal petition in Rhode Island.  Buchanan v. Bank of America, N.A., 2011 R.I. Super. LEXIS 115 (R.I. Super. Ct., Aug. 17, 2011).
  • In case involving self-dealing and improper conversion of estate assets by an Executor, obtained for client/beneficiary (a) removal of Executor, (b) payment of client/beneficiary’s share of the estate and (c) a surcharge against the Executor’s share of the estate in the amount of the prior self-dealing. (2011).

Tax Appeals and Controversies

  • Obtained a $332,000 tax credit for national department store through consent judgment which affirmed and corrected a significant overassessment of real property taxes assessed over a two year span. (2015).
  • Acquired a $382,000 tax credit for a nursing home and assisted living client through consent judgments which affirmed that the underlying four properties were overtaxed during a four year period inconsistent with statutory authority pertaining to qualifying low-income housing properties. (2011).

Class Action/Mass Tort Defense

  • Oversaw court approval of settlement favorable to traffic services client of nationwide class action lawsuit challenging electronic toll payment system.  (2014).
  • Managed roll up of eighteen consumer class action lawsuits challenging legality of red light camera violations into a single federal proceeding leading to court approval of resolution favorable to traffic services client. (2013).

Condemnation Matters

  • Oversaw complete resolution of multiple actions challenging constitutionality and the assigned real property valuations arising out of the simultaneous condemnation of fourteen (14) separate lots by State of Rhode Island. (2015).
  • In condemnation action prejudgment interest rate dispute, successfully argued the applicability of a variable treasury-bill rate over the standard 12% per annum rate, resulting in over $200,000 in savings to state agency. See Conti v. Rhode Island Economic Development Corporation, 2015 R.I. Super. LEXIS 103 (R.I. Super. Ct., Aug. 7, 2015).
Honors & Awards

Honors & Awards

Rhode Island Rising Stars (2016-2017)

Community Involvement

Community Involvement

Bowdoin College Alumni Association of Rhode Island

  • Co-Chair

Rhode Island Mock Trial Tournament

  • Volunteer Attorney Coach

Miriam Hospital Foundation

  • Board of Governors

Providence YMCA

  • Volunteer

Memberships

American Bar Association

Rhode Island Bar Association

Massachusetts Bar Association

Boston Bar Association

Articles & Publications

Articles & Publications

Benjamin has been quoted and his cases referenced in numerous publications including Rhode Island Lawyers Weekly, Banker & Tradesman, InsideClimate News, and Dentistry IQ.

Resources
Benjamin C. Caldwell
Practices
  • Business Litigation & Dispute Resolution
  • Probate & Trust Litigation
  • Tax, Tax Controversy & Litigation
Education

J.D., Emory University School of Law, 2006

B.A., Economics and Comparative Government, Bowdoin College, 2003

Admissions

Rhode Island

Massachusetts

New Jersey

Pennsylvania

U.S. District Courts for the Districts of Rhode Island, Massachusetts and New Jersey

U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit

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