Modifying Interlocutory Judgment
It is well-settled that a trial justice "retains the inherent power to modify any interlocutory judgment or order prior to final judgment." Murphy, 114 R.I. at 682, 338 A.2d at 522; 11 Wright & Miller, Federal Practice & Procedure 2852 at 233 (1998) ("The power of a court to modify an interlocutory judgment or order at any time prior to final judgment . . . is not limited by the provisions of Rule 60(b).").
Interlocutory judgments or orders "are left subject to the complete power of the court rendering them to afford such relief from them as justice requires." 11 Wright & Miller, Federal Practice & Procedure 2852 at 233 n.8 (1998) (quoting Advisory Committee Note to the 1948 amendment to Rule 60(b) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure).
While generally recognizing that interlocutory judgments and orders of the Superior Court may be modified at any time, Rhode Island law does not specifically define a motion for reconsideration as the appropriate procedural vehicle for obtaining such relief nor does it define with particularity the standards governing reconsideration or modification of interlocutory judgments or orders.
A standard allowing modification or reconsideration "as justice requires" grants the court broad discretion to decide whether to entertain a request for reconsideration or modification.
Presumably that discretion must be exercised in a manner that is mindful of the delicate balance between securing the "speedy and inexpensive determination of every action," see Murphy v. Bocchio, 114 R.I. at 685, 338 A.2d at 524, and the "incessant command of the court's conscience that justice be done," Bankers Mortgage Co. v. United States, 423 F.2d 73, 77 (5th Cir. 1970).