Keven A. McKenna, the former state representative, Providence Municipal Court judge and unsuccessful mayoral candidate in the capital city, is in trouble again with the Rhode Island court system.
McKenna, whose law license was recently suspended for one year by the Rhode Island Supreme Court in a long-running professional conduct dispute, was slapped by Superior Court Judge Patricia Hurst in as unusual decision that found McKenna responsible for unprofessional conduct as a lawyer.
A legal observer says he expects the legal dispute over a 2011 overhaul of the state pension system to be settled out of court.
Roger Williams University Law School dean Michael Yelnosky said he’s fairly optimistic about the outlook for a settlement. “For a couple of reasons: one, they came so very close before; there continue to be lots of good reasons to settle on both sides,” said Yelnosky.
Efforts to settle the pension dispute fell apart in April when one of six plaintiff groups rejected a proposed deal.
A Superior Court judge is scheduled Tuesday to consider the first settlement growing out of the state’s lawsuit over 38 Studios. The settlement calls for the state to get a payment of $4.3 million.
After 38 Studios went bankrupt in 2012, the state sued 14 defendants to try to cut down the roughly $90 million owed by taxpayers. The first proposed settlement in the case was announced late last month. It involves the law firm of Moses Afonso Ryan, which served as bond counsel for the ill-fated 38 Studios project.
One of the key issues facing the General Assembly in the new year is the fate of a significant overhaul of the state pension system in 2011. The new legislative session starts Tuesday.
State officials and public employee unions have held closed-door talks for more than a year in an attempt to settle a lawsuit over the pension overhaul. House Speaker Gordon Fox said he opposes any dramatic changes, because the overhaul alleviated pressure on the state budget.
A top aide to Governor Lincoln Chafee and a former counsel for the speaker of the House are among six candidates to become a Superior Court judge. Interviews of the candidates are tentatively scheduled for early next year.
Those hoping to become a Superior Court judge include Richard Licht, director of the state Department of Administration. The state Ethics Commission recently found Licht isn’t subject to a requirement to spend a year outside government before trying to become a judge
A group of citizens has filed a lawsuit in Superior Court in an attempt to stop a supplemental tax increase in Woonsocket. Woonsocket officials hope to use the tax to overcome a persistent budget crisis.
But the lawsuit filed on behalf of several taxpayers claims the supplemental tax doesn’t comply with the General Assembly legislation that authorized it. The legislation was based on Woonsocket being able to reach almost 4 million dollars in other budget savings. But the suit says that since almost 3 million of the savings are subject to legal action, that may never be realized.
A conservative group is praising Rhode Island for overhauling its state pension plan in 2011. The changes made to the plan remain the subject of a lawsuit in Superior Court.
In a new report, the American Legislative Exchange Council, ALEC, praises Rhode Island for making significant changes to reduce its long-term pension obligations. The Virginia-based group calls the changes a contrast from states that hold hearings and organize study groups without taking action.
Mediation is set to continue over the challenge by a series of public-employee unions to an overhaul of the state pension system in 2011.
The outcome of the case has big implications for the state.The two sides in the pension case have repeatedly asked for more time to mediate their differences. Following another such request, the next update is slated before Superior Court Judge Sarah Taft-Carter on September 5th. Taft-Carter was the one who ordered mediation in the case last December.
After the Rhode Island court scandals of the 1990s, the state changed the way judges are chosen. RIPR political analyst explains why lawyers with Statehouse connections keep getting appointed to the bench despite the reforms.
Common Cause of Rhode Island, the good government group, the Rhode Island Bar Association and a past president of the NAACP skewered Gov. Lincoln Chafee recently when he elevated former Senate President Joe Montalbano to a coveted judgeship on the state superior court bench.