R.I. Superior Court launches coronavirus business-protection program
PROVIDENCE — The state Superior Court announced Tuesday that it would launch a program to provide temporary protections to Rhode Island businesses in response to the COVID-19 crisis.
Under the plan, which is a collaboration with the Rhode Island Bar Association, the Superior Court will supervise and provide protections so businesses can remain operational, access new working capital and pay debts. The court aims to provide business owners a shield from lawsuits and creditor actions.
“Unprecedented situations call for innovative solutions,” Superior Court Presiding Justice Alice B. Gibney said in a news release. “Many businesses are being affected by current events through no fault of their own. The Rhode Island Superior Court will provide temporary relief to local businesses so they can get back on their feet.”
The court will implement a non-liquidating receivership model, intended to keep the business and its assets intact, according to the release.
The court will appoint a receiver to oversee the preparation of an operating plan for businesses in the program. Once the business obtains working capital, such as disaster relief or small business assistance, they will be able to stay in business while they address their debts and begin to generate revenue again under court oversight.
Businesses that were not in default on their debts as of Jan. 15, prior to the pandemic, are eligible to file a petition with the Superior Court and will be assigned to the business calendar.
The Supreme Court has implemented procedures for electronically filing petitions and conducting hearings through a Webex system.
To determine eligibility for the Business Recovery Plan, business owners should review the materials by accessing the Business Recovery Plan link at www.courts.ri.gov, or by contacting their lawyer for guidance.