Rhode Island Statutory Interpretation Rules

With respect to statutory interpretation, our Supreme Court has stated on several occasions that when determining questions of statutory construction, the court has an obligation to ascertain the Legislature's intent. Dart. Indus. Inc. v. Clark, 657 A.2d 1062 (R.I. 1995); State v. Benoit, 650 A.2d 1230, 1232 (R.I. 1994); State v. Kane, 625 A.2d 1361, 1363 (R.I. 1993). The Court has the responsibility of effectuating the Legislature's intent by examining the statute in its entirety and giving words their plain and ordinary meaning. Whitehouse v. Rumford Ins. Co., 659 A.2d 506 (R.I. 1995); In re Falstaff Brewing Corp., 637 A.2d 1047, 1049 (R.I. 1994). When a statute has a plain, clear, and unambiguous meaning, no interpretation is required. Whitehouse at 508; Krupa v. Murray, 557 A.2d 868, 869 (R.I. 1989). Moreover, the court will not ascribe to the legislature an intent that leads to an absurd or unreasonable result. Dart Indus. Inc. at 1064; State v. McDonald, 602 A.2d 923, 926 (R.I. 1992).