Rhode Island Superior Court Judge Sarah Taft-Carter on Tuesday granted a request by the state's lawyers for a jury trial in the lawsuit challenging Rhode Island's 2011 pension overhaul and set a trial start date of April 20, said Ashley Gingerella O'Shea, spokeswoman for Gina Raimondo, state treasurer and governor-elect who oversees the state's investment commission.
“The state continues to believe that the pension changes enacted by our General Assembly are constitutional and that the state has strong legal arguments to support its positions,” said a statement Ms. O'Shea e-mailed to Pensions & Investments.
The plaintiffs, which include public employee unions and retiree coalitions, sued to block a 2011 overhaul, which created a hybrid plan, raised retirement ages and suspended cost-of-living increases for participants in the $8.3 billion Rhode Island Employees' Retirement System, Providence, as a cost-savings measure.
The lawsuit has been the subject of closed-door mediation since 2012. The mediation process ended in April after a proposed settlement was rejected by members of the police union.