legal issues

Governor Lincoln Chafee says the uncertainty and cost of litigating a union challenge to last year’s landmark pension overhaul justify efforts to seek a settlement.

In a telephone interview from Washington, DC, where he’s attending a National Governors Association meeting, Chafee dismissed concerns that a settlement would dilute the pension overhaul to such an extent that it would hurt Rhode Island’s fiscal condition.

Susan Pedgen, best known as the press secretary for Charles Fogarty during his two terms as lieutenant governor, has gotten the nod to become chief legal counsel for House Speaker Gordon Fox. She’s slated to start $121,308 job next Monday, December 3.

Pegden will be the first woman to be chief legal counsel for a speaker, according to Fox spokesman Larry Berman. As a resident of Hope Street, she is also a constituent of the speaker.

Via news release: 

The emergence of super-lawyer David Boies in Rhode Island’s high-stakes pension fight — first reported yesterday by RIPR — was triggered by his interest in the even broader significance of the case.

Alison Frankel reports for Thomson Reuters:

Superior Court Judge Sarah Taft-Carter is slated to consider next month a motion by the state to dismiss the challenge filed by a series of unions against Rhode Island’s landmark 2011 pension overhaul.

A hearing on the matter is scheduled for December 7. It is not known how long Taft-Carter will take to make her decision on the motion.

On a 3-2 decision, the Rhode Island Supreme Court has denied Carlos Tobon’s call for a manual recount following his controversial and contested one-vote loss to state Representative William San Bento of Pawtucket.

State Representative Leo Medina, a Providence Democrat, is being formally charged on previous accusations of practicing law without a license. A Supreme Court committee last year referred the case to the attorney general’s office for investigation.

This from the AG’s office:

Here’s the release from the office of Governor Lincoln Chafee:

Governor Lincoln D. Chafee today announced that attorney Richard J. Land will serve as 38 Studios’ Receiver as the Governor and the State of Rhode Island work to recoup as many taxpayer dollars as possible. Mr. Land has served as a court-appointed Receiver for a variety of businesses and has represented clients in all levels of state court in Rhode Island, in the United States District Court for the District of Rhode Island, and the United State Bankruptcy Court for the District of Rhode Island.

As might be expected for an elected official, state Treasurer Gina Raimondo isn’t making any bold predictions about the outcome of a court case challenging last year’s pension overhaul.

Here’s a link to the audio for my Q+A with Robert Walsh, executive director of the National Education Association Rhode Island, on the lawsuit by a series of unions against the state’s 2011 pension overhaul.

Robert Walsh, executive director of the National Education Association Rhode Island, has never been shy with his opinions. And he’s confident that unions will succeed in legally overturning the state’s much-ballyhooed pension overhaul of 2011.

Attorney General Peter Kilmartin, a former Pawtucket police officer, and state police Colonel Steven O’Donnell are offering this reaction to the conviction today of North Providence Police Chief John Whiting:


“This office takes seriously its responsibility of bringing all those who break the law to justice.

Matt Jerzyk, drector of policy, municipal affairs and senior counsel to Providence Mayor Angel Taveras, has accepted an assignment as deputy city solicitor, RIPR has learned.

The reaction is streaming in to the US Supreme Court’s decision, on a 5-4 vote, to uphold most of the Democratic-backed Affordable Care Act:

Senator Jack Reed:

“Health reform is long overdue.  Nearly two decades ago, former Republican Senator John H. Chafee pointed out that a private health insurance market works best when everyone is in the insurance market.  And during the debate in 2009, top Republicans in Congress were still saying “there is a bipartisan consensus to have an individual mandate.”

Lawyer Max Wistow, a partner in the Providence firm of Wistow & Barylick, was hired by the state today to try to reduce the roughly $100 million liability faced by taxpayers due to the meltdown of 38 Studios.

After being introduced by Governor Chafee during a Statehouse news conference, Wistow said he couldn’t offer specifics on his approach since he’d just started on the job as a special counsel for the state Economic Development Corporation.

State Health Insurance Commissioner Christopher Koller plans to camp somewhere in the vicinity of the US Supreme Court when the court is expected to issue its highly anticipated decision Thursday morning on the Affordable Care Act.