TIAA-CREF Enterprises Inc. is once more facing claims of negligent misrepresentation and breach of fiduciary duty following the US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit’s reinstatement of the claims. The appeals court, however, did affirm the District Court’s decision to dismiss the 1934 Securities Exchange Act Section 10(b) and New York fraud claims.
Per the court’s account, plaintiff Vera Muller-Paisner filed the lawsuit against TIAA-CREF Enterprises Inc. and other entities. Mueller-Paisner was the executrix of the estate belonging to a woman named Mary Engel, who had purchased a fixed annuity from the defendants for about $1.2 million. The annuity was to pay Engel $8,000 each month until her death.
Engel would have recovered the purchase price in 12 years, but she
died six months after buying the annuity and had only collected $48,000. Muller-Paisner discovered that most of Engel’s assets had been used to buy the annuity. This made it impossible for the executrix to dispose of the decedent’s estate, per Engel’s will.
While the district court had dismissed the entire lawsuit, this month, the appeals court affirmed part of that ruling and reversed it in part.
The 2nd circuit says it dismissed common law fraud and federal securities claims because the plaintiff did not sufficiently allege both a scienter and that there had been a materially misleading misstatement or omission. The appeals court, however, also ruled that Muller-Paisner’s allegations were enough to withstand any motions to dismiss the negligence and breach of fiduciary duty claims. It noted, among the plaintiff’s allegations, claims by the defendants that they have the resources and system in place to help customers buy the best options available to them that will maximize their income and allow them to support their post-retirement lives.
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