Claims that New York Governor Andrew Cuomo wrongfully targeted the National Rifle Association (NRA) for the unlawful sale of so-called “murder insurance” were recently dismissed by a court.
Earlier this week, US District Judge Thomas McAvoy in Albany dismissed several claims against the governor, in his official capacity, as well as claims against NY’s Department of Financial Services (DFS).
The NRA originally filed its lawsuit in 2018 in response to civil charges brought by the DFS, which accused the NRA of acting as an unlicensed insurer when it offered the “Carry Guard” insurance program to its members without proper authorisation. The DFS also alleged that the NRA misrepresented the cost of the insurance to its members, charging 20% more for premiums.
The investigation into the controversial insurance led to insurer Chubb and broker Lockton halting their insurance programs for NRA members and paying millions in fines. Lloyd’s of London similarly stopped underwriting NRA products.
Bloomberg reported that claims against Governor Cuomo in his individual capacity are still pending, as is the First Amendment claim against former DFS head Maria Vullo, although a “selective enforcement” claim against her was thrown out. It was ruled that it was “plausible to conclude” her statements as part of guidance letters and alleged “backroom exhortations” to regulated insurers and banks could be seen as a “veiled threat” to part ways with the NRA “or risk DFS enforcement action”, the newswire reported.
In a statement, NRA lawyer William A. Brewer III said that the decision “reaffirms that all public officials” are “accountable under the First Amendment.”
“It will allow the NRA to pursue discovery and bring important evidence to light -- to expose the communications and coordinated efforts of New York officials and others to harm the NRA and impinge its constitutional freedoms,” he said. “The message is clear: the NRA will stand up to those who unlawfully interfere with its Second Amendment advocacy.”