Minnesota judge denies Justice Department's request for stay in DOL fiduciary rule lawsuit

The judge said "mere speculation about the possibility of administrative action" by the Trump administration wasn't a strong enough reason to stay proceedings.

Feb 22, 2017 @ 2:01 pm

By Greg Iacurci

A district court judge has denied the Justice Department's request for a stay in one of the several lawsuits brought against the Labor Department's fiduciary rule.

The Justice Department on Feb. 15 requested a stay in the lawsuit brought by Thrivent Financial for Lutherans, pending the results of a review of the rule directed by President Donald J. Trump.

Judge Susan Richard Nelson, of the U.S. District Court for the District of Minnesota, didn't buy this argument, saying "considerations of fairness to the opposing party mandate a presumption in favor of denying a motion to stay," according to the court order issued Tuesday.

The DOJ can overcome that presumption based on "proper facts," Ms. Nelson said, but "mere speculation about the possibility of administrative action — especially when compounded by uncertainty regarding what form that action might take — does not discharge that burden."

The fiduciary rule, which raises investment-advice standards in retirement accounts, has, to date, survived four court challenges brought by various financial industry groups.

There's a summary judgment hearing currently scheduled for March 3 in the Thrivent lawsuit.

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