FOR THE RECORD
New York Court Sides with NRA in Denying Motion to Intervene
September 8, 2021 – The New York State Supreme Court today denied a motion to intervene by two NRA lifetime members, Francis (“Frank”) Tait and Mario Aguirre, in the matters involving the New York Attorney General (“NYAG”). The NYAG filed a dissolution lawsuit against the NRA in August 2020.
Following oral argument earlier today, the NRA and its counsel, Brewer, Attorneys & Counselors (“BAC”), prevailed in opposition to the closely-watched motion.
Tait is a lifetime member from Wayne, Pennsylvania, who had run as a write-in candidate for the NRA Board of Directors in 2019, and has stated his intention to run as a write-in candidate for the 2021 elections. Aguirre is a lifetime member from Birmingham, Alabama.
The proposed intervenors sought to intervene in order to derivatively assert defenses, cross-claims and counterclaims on behalf of the NRA. The proposed intervenors also opposed the NYAG’s effort to dissolve the NRA.
The Court ruled that proposed intervenors lacked standing to intervene and assert derivative claims on behalf of the NRA under the New York Not-for-Profit Law because they do not represent at least 5% of any class of NRA members. The Court also held that the intervenors failed to allege that they made a demand on the NRA Board of Directors for the relief they sought upon intervention, but that they were denied by the Board, as is also required under New York law. The Court also stated there was no showing that a majority of the Board was complicit in any alleged wrongdoing.
The Court held that the proposed intervenors had no right to intervene based on any relevant statute. The Court further held that the proposed intervenors lacked the requisite interest in this proceeding. Specifically, as members, they lack the required interest in the NRA’s assets, and their general interest in preventing dissolution was insufficient to support intervention.
The Court also held that the proposed intervenors’ rights are adequately represented by the NRA and by the NYAG. Specifically with regard to BAC’s representation of the NRA, the Court stated there was no basis to consider a motion to disqualify BAC as counsel and that only a current or former client of BAC would have standing to make such a motion. Importantly, the Court stated it had no evidence before it that the NRA Special Litigation Committee is incapable of making decisions regarding the NYAG case.
Finally, although the Court declined to base his ruling on untimeliness, he suggested that he agreed with the NRA’s argument that the motion was untimely as a matter of law, filed some 10 months after the case was commenced.