A District of Columbia federal judge rejected plaintiffs’ request last week to set aside the fiduciary rule applicability date until its appeal is heard.
Judge Randolph D. Moss denied the request by the National Association for Fixed Annuities. On Nov. 4, Moss denied NAFA’s motion for a preliminary injunction and granted a summary judgment to the Department of Labor.
NAFA quickly appealed and requested two things: an expedited ruling and an injunction delaying the rule’s April 10, 2017 effective date. Moss granted the former motion, but left the date of compliance untouched.
The judge ruled that NAFA did not meet the standard for an injunction, namely, proving that it can win its case on merit.
“NAFA is not entitled to an injunction pending appeal or while its members transition to the new rules,” Moss wrote. “The likelihood of success on the merits prong weighs heavily against NAFA.”
Moss did not set any court dates for the expedited appeal. In its request for the appeal filed Nov. 14, NAFA attorneys urged Moss to move quickly.
"It is imperative that the motion be heard and resolved by this court as soon as possible," the filing reads. "There are now less than five months left until the April 10, 2017, applicability date, and NAFA’s members already are facing irreversible and irreparable harm to their businesses."
Moss presided over an Aug. 25 hearing in which he challenged NAFA attorney Philip Bartz with lengthy questioning. The NAFA case is one of four lawsuits opposing the DOL rule.
The third of the original lawsuits was heard Nov. 17 in a Dallas federal court, a consolidated case led by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. The second lawsuit, filed by Market Synergy Group, was heard Sept. 21 in a U.S. District Court in Kansas.
All three lawsuits make similar claims that the DOL was “arbitrary and capricious” and overstepped its authority with the fiduciary rule.
A fourth case – Thrivent Financial vs. Department of Labor – takes a different route in challenging the DOL’s class-action provision. It will be heard March 2 in St. Paul, Minn.
InsuranceNewsNet Senior Editor John Hilton has covered business and other beats in more than 20 years of daily journalism. John may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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