AG Kilmartin confident his team can defend pension lawsuit

New York super-lawyer David Boies is dominating the local legal headlines these days, but Attorney General Peter Kilmartin has his own legal team preparing to defend the state’s landmark pension law against a union challenge.

Two assistant attorney generals – Jim Lee, chief of the civil division, and Rebecca Partington, the division’s deputy chief – are handling the case for Kilmartin, who as attorney general is responsible for defending Governor Chafee and Treasurer Gina Raimondo in their official capacities.

“The attorney general has full confidence in the ability of his team here to successfully defend the state in any lawsuit,” Kilmartin spokeswoman Amy Kempe told “We have an A team, and the A team is right here at the Rhode Island attorney general’s office.”

Lee and Partington aren’t the only lawyers involved. John Tarantino, a lawyer with the Providence law firm Adler Pollock & Sheehan, is representing the state Retirement Board, which has fiduciary responsibility for the state pension fund. Raimondo is also seeking to have David Boies, who argued the losing side in Bush vs. Gore, join Tarantino as co-counsel; a judge will consider whether to allow that on Friday.

The treasurer’s office didn’t consult with Kilmartin before seeking to add Boies to the pension legal team, but Kempe said that wasn’t an issue. “If and when David Boies is allowed to enter – if the courts grant his motion to – the attorney general welcomes him to the team,” she said.

• Related: Read RI leaders’ dueling Wednesday statements on the pension suit (Dec. 5)

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