The National Rifle Association filed a lawsuit against Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the Department of Financial Services and Superintendent Maria Vullo in federal district court in Albany on Friday alleging that they are depriving NRA members’ constitutional rights in their regulatory actions against insurers providing gun owner liability insurance in the state.
The NRA’s complaint is seeking damages for what the organization alleges are violations of members’ free speech, equal protection and due process under state and federal laws following DFS-imposed consent orders and fines earlier this month against a Chubb Ltd. subsidiary and an insurance broker that sold NRA-branded “Carry Guard” gun owner liability policies in New York. The insurer, Illinois Union, and the broker, Lockton Affinity, have agreed to stop selling those policies, which cover liability for criminal proceedings stemming from ownership of a legal firearm. Lloyd’s of London also announced Wednesday that it had barred syndicates from selling similar NRA gun owner liability coverage. Lockton Affinity paid a $7 million fine. Chubb paid a $1.3 million fine.
The lawsuit charges that Cuomo and Vullo have engaged in a “campaign” to coerce insurers and banks to stop offering services from the NRA. The NRA is seeking injunctive relief and a jury trial and to “cease and refrain from further selective enforcement” of insurance laws. The complaint was submitted by William Brewer III and other attorneys of Brewer Attorneys & Counselors in New York and Dallas on behalf of the NRA and Charles Cooper, Michael Kirk and other attorneys of Cooper & Kirk in Washington, D.C.
A phone call seeking comment from DFS in New York was not returned on Friday. Cuomo said the lawsuit is “a futile and desperate attempt to advance its dangerous agenda to sell more guns,” according to an Associated Press report Friday afternoon.
The lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of New York, No. 1:18-cv-566(EK/CFH).