District judge sets deadline in DOL fiduciary rule case

Industry plaintiffs who succeeded in vacating the regulation filed a motion seeking no further action

Jul 10, 2018 @ 2:09 pm

By Bruce Kelly

The Department of Labor's fiduciary rule continues its legal and procedural death throes, as three financial services industry lobbying groups opposing the regulation notified a federal court in Texas on Monday that they would seek no more action in the matter.

Chief judge Barbara M.G. Lynn of the U.S. district court for the northern district of Texas — who had upheld the rule in a decision on Feb. 8, 2017 — issued an order in late June that any parties involved in the matter who seek further remedy or relief must notify the court in writing by Thursday, July 12.

A court filing by plaintiffs in the complaint — the American Council of Life Insurers, the Chamber of Commerce and the Indexed Annuity Leadership Council — stated: "To the extent that the court takes any further steps, plaintiffs respectfully submit that the only remaining appropriate step would be to close the case."

The complaint was originally filed in 2016 against the Department of Labor and its then secretary Thomas Perez.

It remains to be seen whether any state attorneys general, which have attempted to save the DOL fiduciary rule on appeal but have failed, will act further. A spokeswoman for California's attorney general, Xavier Becerra, did not return a call Tuesday to comment.

The DOL's fiduciary rule has been essentially dead since the middle of March, when the U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals issued a split decision that vacated the measure. After a delay of more than three months, the court issued a mandate June 21 that made effective its March decision.

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