New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo won dismissal of some claims by the National Rifle Association that he wrongfully targeted the gun rights organization for illegally marketing an insurance product in the state.
The NRA sued in 2018 claiming it was being singled out by New York officials who opened a probe into a product for NRA members dubbed “murder insurance” by the group’s critics. On Monday, U.S. District Judge Thomas McAvoy in Albany tossed out claims against Cuomo, in his official capacity, and the Department of Financial Services, a powerful state regulator. Still pending are claims against the governor in his individual capacity.
The NRA’s First Amendment claim against former DFS head Maria Vullo also survived, while a “selective enforcement” claim against her was thrown out. The judge ruled it was “plausible to conclude” that her statements in guidance letters and alleged “backroom exhortations” to regulated insurers and banks could be viewed as a “veiled threat” to part ways with the NRA “or risk DFS enforcement action.”
William A. Brewer III, a lawyer for the NRA, said in a statement that the decision “reaffirms that all public officials” are “accountable under the First Amendment.” [full article]