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)

17 thoughts on “AG Kilmartin confident his team can defend pension lawsuit

  1. Raimondo’s ego once again taking over. She thinks she owns this State.

    Just remember the 50.00 an hr lawyer she hired.

    There is more to that.

  2. Hmmmm. I’m not one to read between the lines, but it seems to me that the AG and the Treasurer are NOT on the same page. Another bridge burnt?

    • Mal it’s obvious that Gina wants Wall Street to take over the Rhode Island finances…. She ignores all Rhode Islanders.

      If you had to compare what she is up to, it’s the same as taking Social Security, and handing it to Wall Street.

  3. Of course the AG can defend the state! A high school student could defend the state.

    The real issue will be whether the AG can win a case that smells of heading for the US Supreme Court.

  4. Gina “dolla dolla bills” Raimondo thinks she’s the tin-pot dictator of this state. Who in their right mind would just go and hire a lawyer without consulting the Attorney General, who has a team of lawyers responsible for the case?

    And don’t we have state purchasing laws and state personnel laws? How can she just go and “hire” her buddy for $50 per hour?

    And if she can do it this time, how many other of her Bain Capital and Wall Street lackeys are on the payroll?

    Maybe we’ll never know…

  5. One would hope that carpetbagger Boies will not be approved by the court. Team is big enough now without adding Gina’s buddy to the trough. This whole things is starting to sound more like a scheme to line Gina’s friends pockets at the expense of taxpayers who already paying for the State mismanaging their pension plans. Since this case does not inovlve any Federal Law, it never will go to the US Supreme Court, only the Supremes on South Main St.

  6. Once it has been established that a valid contract has existed either express or implied, the next step is to see that it gets enforced.
    The last time I read a Restatement of Contracts it said that the main purpose of any contract is that it be enforceable.
    In the present MERS case or defined benefits by statute case, the actions, personnel rules and regs, and both parties contributing to its enforcement over the years, acting as a valid contract, makes it binding for those retired and for those, who made monetary contributions over the years, as well. In short, State has no clean hands.
    Lawyers for state and Gina sound like Capt. Reneau in the movis Casablanca
    who said that he was “shocked shocked that there is gambling taking place in Ric’s Cafe”. Hello!

  7. I wish I never moved to Rhode Island, you people are clueless about the value of money and over pay the scum of the earth, public sector employees. That expecially means public school teachers.

  8. If you do not like the terms of a contract, do not become a party to that contract. Once a party to a contract you are bound by its terms. That should not be so difficult to comprehend.

    It’s not “math,” it’s “contractual obligations.” Why is the RI Legislature not calling for breach of its corporate contracts? Why are public employee contracts the first target?


    The Colorado Court of Appeals has reversed and remanded an initial District Court ruling that denied the contractual status of public pension COLAs in Colorado. The Court of Appeals confirmed that Colorado PERA pension COLA benefits are a contractual obligation of the pension plan Colorado PERA and its affiliated public employers.

    A huge victory for public sector retirees in Colorado! The Colorado Legislature may not breach its contracts and push taxpayer obligations onto the backs of a small group of elderly pensioners.

    The lawsuit is continuing. Support pension rights in the U.S. by contributing at Friend Save Pera Cola on Facebook!

    In 1977, the (U.S.) Supreme Court clarified that state attempts to impair their own contracts, ESPECIALLY FINANCIAL OBLIGATIONS, were subject to greater scrutiny and very little deference because the STATE’S SELF-INTEREST IS AT STAKE. As the court bluntly stated:

    “A governmental entity can always find a use for extra money, especially when taxes do not have to be raised. If a state could reduce its financial obligations whenever it wanted to spend the money for what it regarded as an important public purpose, the Contract Clause would provide no protection at all . . . Thus, a state cannot refuse to meet its legitimate financial obligations simply because it would prefer to spend the money to promote the public good rather than the private welfare of its creditors.”

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