NEW YORK, September 22 (CNNBreakingNews.net) — A federal appeals court ordered the dismissal of a National Rifle lawsuit on Thursday Association that accuses a New York regulator of stifling its speech by pressuring banks and insurers to stop doing business with the gun rights group.
In a 3-0 decision, the 2nd US Circuit Court of Appeals in Manhattan stated that the NRA had not proven that Maria Vullo, the former Superintendent of the New York Department of Financial Services (DFS), “crossed the line between attempts at persuasion and coercive attempts.”
In April 2018, Vullo had asked banks and insurers to take into account the “reputational risks” of doing business. With Gun rights groups, following the fatal shooting of 17 people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, two months earlier.
She later fined Lloyd’s of London and two other insurance companies more than 13 million dollars, and they voted to stop selling NRA-backed products that New York for
The NRA sued Vullo and then-Governor Andrew Cuomo in May 2018 and said the state’s “blacklisting” campaign would make them the deprive basic financial services and threaten their endorsement.
A court judge dismissed all lawsuits except two free speech lawsuits against Vullo in March 2021, but the Das Court of Appeal said these should also have been dismissed.
Circuit judge Denny Chin wrote that even if Vullo’s actions were “somewhat obsessive,” they were reasonable and in good faith in light of the backlash against gun rights groups following the Parkland shooting.
“She certainly had the right to raise these concerns to protect DFS regulated companies and residents of New York from them financial damage and maintenance of stability in the state’s financial system,” wrote Chin.
Attorneys from the NRA did not give an immediate statement.
Vullo said in a statement the decision confirmed her power to address public policy concerns, even if “aggressive opponents “use lawsuits to stifle their efforts.
The NRA, based in New York, is facing a separate investigation by Attorney General Letitia James into alleged corruption within the group. Read more
A judge in Manhattan blocked their efforts to dissolve the NRA in March but said James had many legally viable claims.
The case is National Rifle Association of America v Vullo, 2nd US Court of Appeals, No. 21-636.