Lawyers on both sides of Rhode Island’s pension lawsuit had asked the court to push back the start of the trial, but a judge denied that request on Friday. The lawyers had wanted more time to prepare, but Superior Court Judge Sarah Taft-Carter re-iterated that the trial will start on April 20, as planned. Carter’s remarks, reported by WPRI:
“It’s time to try the case,” Superior Court Judge Sarah Taft-Carter said in open court. She described the pension cases as “old,” noting some were filed five years ago. The judge said she will file pretrial orders later Friday. Taft-Carter’s decision appeared to catch the dozen or so lawyers by surprise, particularly since both sides were in agreement on the need for a delay, potentially until January. […] But Taft-Carter noted that she had already scrapped one proposed trial start date – September 2014 – to give the two sides more time to prepare. “The issues remain the same,” the judge said. “The parties have had more than a year since the failed mediation to conduct their discovery.” […] John Tarantino, the lead attorney for the state defending the pension law, acknowledged he was disappointed by Taft-Carter’s decision Friday but noted it will have the same effect on both sides. “I understand the judge wants to get the case tried,” Tarantino said. “We believed we would have been in a better position – both sides – with a continuance. … We’ll deal with the time we have.” He indicated it’s unlikely the state will appeal Taft-Carter’s decision.
On Thursday, Carter also granted a motion to consolidate the collection of pension-related lawsuits into a single case.