There has been an ongoing struggle between the National Rifle Association (NRA) and New York’s Attorney General Leticia James. Recently, the NRA dropped their lawsuit against her.
According to The Hill, the NRA said in a court filing in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of New York that it is “voluntarily” withdrawing its lawsuit against Attorney General James. The court filing (dated June 4, 2021) is titled: “National Rifle Association of America’s Notice of Voluntary Dismissal”. It says very little.
Pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 41(a)(1)(A)(i), Plaintiff the National Rifle Association gives notice that the above-captioned action is voluntarily dismissed without prejudice.
New York Attorney General Letitia James responded to the NRA’s voluntary dismissal in a press release titled “Attorney General James Responds to NRA Dropping Countersuit”. From the press release:
The NRA dropping its countersuit today in federal court is an implicit admission that their strategy would never prevail. The truth is that Wayne LaPierre and his lieutenants used the NRA as a breeding ground for personal gain and a lavish lifestyle. We were victorious against the organization’s attempt to declare bankruptcy, and our fight for transparency and accountability will continue because no one is above the law.
Unfortunately, this probably will not be the end of the NRA’s attempts to file questionable cases in an effort to avoid facing the consequences of its actions.
A Little Background
On May 11, 2021, Federal Judge Harlin Hale, a United States Bankruptcy Judge in the United States Court Northern District of Texas Dallas Division wrote a decision on the NRA’s bankruptcy case. CNBC provided a quote from the judge:
The Court believes the NRA’s purpose in filing bankruptcy is less like a traditional bankruptcy case in which a debtor is faced with financial difficulties or a judgement that it cannot satisfy and more like cases in which courts have found bankruptcy was filed to gain an unfair advantage in litigation or to avoid a regulatory scheme.
The case Judge Harlin Hale heard was titled: National Rifle Association of America and Sea Girt LLC. It was heard in the United States Bankruptcy Court Northern Division of Texas Dallas Division. The NRA had the audacity to ask the Judge to dismiss Attorney General Letitia James’s investigation against them. Here is another piece from the Judge’s decision:
…The question the Court is faced with is whether the existential threat facing the NRA is the type of threat the Bankruptcy Code is meant to protect against. The Court believes it is not. For the reasons stated herein, the Court finds there is cause to dismiss this bankruptcy case as not having been filed in good faith both because it was filed to gain an unfair litigation advantage and because it was filed to avoid a state regulatory scheme. The Court further finds the appointment of a trustee or examiner would, at this time, not be in the best interest of creditors and the estate…
That same day, Attorney General Letitia James posted a press release titled: “Attorney General James Wins Dismissal of NRA’s Fraudulent Bankruptcy, Fight for Dissolution to Continue in New York. From the press release:
…”Weeks of testimony have demonstrated that the NRA and Wayne LaPierre simply filed chapter 11 bankruptcy to avoid accountability,” said Attorney General James. “The trial underscored that the NRA’s fraud and abuse continued long after we filed our lawsuit. Without a doubt, the board was deceived when bankruptcy language was hidden in Mr. LaPierre’s contract earlier this year. Today’s order reaffirms that the NRA does not get to dictate if and where it will answer for its actions. The rot runs deep, which is why we will now refocus and continue on our case in New York court. No one is above the law, not even one of the most powerful lobbying organizations in the country…”
The dismissal of the NRA’s bankruptcy case means that New York Attorney General Letitia James could now move forward on dissolving the National Rifle Association. CNN reported that the NRA’s decision to drop its case against Attorney General Letitia James means the NRA cannot reorganize in the state of Texas without approval from the New York Attorney General’s office.
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