Summary judgment requested over pension cuts
Rhode Island: On Friday, May 20, a Rhode Island Superior Court spokesman confirmed that their docket entry is for a motion for summary judgment for June 21 before Judge Sarah Taft-Carter to rule on a lawsuit filed by state unions representing public workers. The lawsuit was filed last year on May 12, as a challenge to state’s right to reduce the anticipated benefits of public employees. This will be the first court hearing of the lawsuit since it was filed and if the motion for a summary judgment is approved the long standing matter will be resolved in June. This would involve the court making a judgment on the matter based on statements and evidence presented in the legal pleadings without going to trial. The motion was filed on May 5, by the state's attorney, John A. Tarantino, who argues that, "the law in Rhode Island is clear that neither the state pension statute nor the state pension plan establishes a contractual relationship..., and, therefore, members [of the Employees Retirement System of Rhode Island] have no contractual entitlement to receipt of benefits authorized by the pension statute at any time before their retirement." Kenneth DeLorenzo, executive director of Council 94, one of the unions spearheading the lawsuit, responded by saying, "This lawsuit is about broken promises. State employees and teachers have faithfully made their required contributions to the pension system in exchange for retirement security. The workers have held up their end of the bargain, while the state has not. We believe our lawsuit is valid and deserves a full hearing on the merits."