Lawyers brief judge for 12th time on RI pension lawsuit talks

December 9th, 2013 at 12:56 pm by under Nesi's Notes, On the Main Site

Lawyers briefed the judge overseeing a union lawsuit challenging Rhode Island’s 2011 pension overhaul once again Monday about the progress of their court-ordered mediation to settle the case.

Attorneys on both sides of the suit met this morning with R.I. Superior Court Judge Sarah Taft-Carter, court spokesman Craig Berke said. It was a year ago next Wednesday that she ordered the state and the unions into a formal, closed-door mediation process overseen by the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service.

The frequency of the status conferences has been picking up in recent weeks, with four held in the last month and a half, fueling speculation that the two sides are closing in on a deal. But the next one won’t take place until after the holidays: Taft-Carter scheduled it for Jan. 3 at 9 a.m., Berke said.

Monday’s status conference was the 12th one the two sides have held since last winter. The previous ones were on Nov. 21, Nov. 12, Oct. 28, Sept. 30, Sept. 5, Aug. 6, May 17, April 22, March 25, Feb. 28 and Feb. 1.

• Related: RI lawmakers worried about secret talks to rewrite pension law (Oct. 15)

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17 Responses to “Lawyers brief judge for 12th time on RI pension lawsuit talks”

  1. Mike says:

    This is nuts! Raimond’s just dragging this out as long as she can in order to try to hide the truth from voters long enough for her to sneak into the governor’s office. C’mon! A YEAR to mediate this? How long before Taft tosses the useless mediation and just ORDERS a judgment (that it was unconstitutional)?!

    1. janskor says:

      This is why they are dragging it out. The state stands to lose. The retirees and state workers and teachers have already lost. We only stand to stay the same or get what we deserved and legally should have had back. This isn’t rocket science. Mediation is a joke…defined as sleeping with the enemy or in each others’ beds. Let’s go to trial. We’ve got nothing to lose…we lost it. The state stands to lose.

  2. janskor says:

    Ay what point does the judge say enough is enough with a deadline for a decision. This is getting to look more political by the day.This is has to down in history has the longest time spent on the mediation process. Perhaps there just can’t be mediation and it should go to trial.This is probably getting as costly as trial. And obviously both sides think their right. Let’s go for it. Right now, the pensioneers have nothing to lose. We already lost it. If going to trial means we may get something rightfully returned to us , fine. If it goes to trial and we don’t then we are in the same position we are in now with nothing. Forget mediation …it’s only for the benefit of the state. They stand to lose since they are on the winning side already.

    1. John says:

      Totally agree the mediation only benefits the state and politicians. Where do the overwhelming number of judges come from
      In RI… The bowels of the legislature…the chances of getting a fair handling of the clearly illegal breaking of a contract with the
      Retirees in the case of the COLA theft is not likely in this state. The other outrageous element to this mediation farce is the
      likelihood that the union negotiators are bending over to sell out large parts of their former members to their own advantage. This crap is going on across the country. There really needs to be a Supreme Court resolution to the notion that states can
      retroactively change agreements with retired workers. Since that is unlikely, the cynical incumbent politicians and judges feel
      empowered to do whatever the hell they want.

  3. Snow says:

    I agree with everyone who has posted. Let’s end the mediation and go to trial. We need a legal judgement or the state will be back at this in a couple of years, trying to squeeze more from workers.

    1. TLaw says:

      The RI power elite (wealthy, union leadership, politicians)
      need a settlement that will perpetuate the status would that
      benefits them, their families and friends.

      Riamondo’ s so-called pension reform took from current
      retirees, failed to make the state to make at least a token
      contribution for past non-contribution, and rewarded her hedge
      fund comrades.

      A settlement has to benefit existing state workers, not retirees, since
      only active workers vote for the re-election of union
      officers, not retirees.

      I recall the days when union officers would voluntarily
      promote compensation not to exceed that of the highest
      paid union member.

      The settlement will probably set a COLA cap on the first
      $25,000 or so and create legally unsupportable case by denying COLAS
      on higher pensions. All retired state employees belong to
      the same class and are entitled to equal protection via US
      and state Constitutions.

      Delay, untenable compromise, and more of the same to protect
      RI’s power elite will continue.

      The power elite has successfully used basic human weaknesses
      of envy, pride, hollow political labeling to divide the people so we
      fight each other while they continue to reap the economic harvest
      for themselves and families.

      1. John says:

        I totally agree. What the retirees who were not hoodwinked into signing up for a retiree union organization that will
        be complicit with a mediated sell out of all retired pensioneers need to do is find a law firm with the balls to file a class action lawsuit on their behalf to challenge the mediated process. In RI that’s going to be difficult since the legal / political food chain is incestuous and future legal business might be at risk for any firm willing to confront the status quo in the GA and judicial system. However, money is a huge incentive to any competent law firm that could reap a significant pay day and national recognition in taking on such a class action. It’s time to throw out the RI General Assembly incumbents, and entrenched committee chairpersons who cower to their leaders Fox and Paiva Weed and stop the recycling process of moving political hacks into judgeships and other state patronage jobs!

  4. Bob says:

    10% sales tax ought to cover the new pension bill assuming the state loses.

  5. George says:

    Yeah Bob, raise taxes, Mass and Conn. are so far away. But I agree with many of you. Lets have a judgement. The loser can appeal and we can have it settled in the State Supreme court. A mediated settlement is not the answer.

    1. Bob says:

      How else would you pay for it? Start selling stuff?

      1. George says:

        1. Cut aid to cities and towns.
        2. Cut social services.
        3. Cut pay to new hires.
        4. Start department budgets at zero dollars and force department heads to justify every dollar.
        5. Cut the sales tax to 3%. MA and CT are much bigger than Rhode Island. Lowering our taxes won’t get their attention for a few years.
        This should drive in across border business.

  6. Cindy says:

    Totally agree. Taft-Carter is a JUDGE – make a decision already. But she is a judge because of her legislative cronies. This whole mediation is bull***t. Mediation in RI is never ending until the powers that be get their way. The state will hold out forever if allowed too. I cannot believe that Taft-Carter is not relaying info the Fox Den. Meanwhile, we all lose. We should vote on judgeships like many other states. Then their loyalty will be for will be on the public good — not legislative politics. This state will never change. I cannot wait to leave it all behind me like many others. All that will be left in RI are those on public assistance (because we reward them well for living here) and the elderly who are trapped and cannot leave. Sad, so sad!!

    1. tlaw says:

      This process will never end for tax payers, retirees, but past legislators, governors and state budget directors who breached their public responsibilities they can continue to reap the benefits with immunity. The legal storm clouds are gathering. Higher compensated pensioners have been organizing and will sue when COLAs are caped. Tax payers and business want a certain degree of economic certainty. The political, economic, and union elete want to maintain the status quo with all depending on their political whim and not the public will.

      1. Bob says:

        yup. State loses I believe it’s another $300 million and up every year. Where will that come from?

  7. doug in south county says:

    At this point, something needs to be resolved for the sake of all parties. Remember whatever settlement is reached will still need General Assembly and the Governor’s approval. Is Gina dragging this out so she can veto any settlement once in the Governor’s Office? Seems like a ploy on the State’s part. It only increases taxpayer liability and more loss to deserving retirees. To start trial now would only add years to the process. Get the deal done while Chafee is still Governor.

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