This past week, Magistrate Judge Stephanie Bowman issued a report and recommendation that dealt a significant blow to Ohio National’s attempt to dismiss the class action lawsuit our law firm filed against it. Read more about this lawsuit. Judge Bowman’s recommendation paves the way for the case to proceed to discovery, class certification, and ultimately a trial by jury. Read Judge Bowman’s decision.
Helmer Martins attorney Nathaniel Garrett—who successfully argued on behalf of the representatives at oral argument against Ohio National—was recently interviewed by Financial Advisor IQ, a Financial Times Company, about this victory for the financial representatives. Read the full article here.
Ohio National sought to dismiss our lawsuit by arguing that financial representatives have no legal standing to sue them because the representatives were not signatories to Ohio National’s selling agreements. Judge Bowman was unpersuaded by Ohio National’s arguments. Instead, Judge Bowman adopted in full our position that the representatives are indispensable to the sales of Ohio National’s variable annuity products and that representatives have legal standing to sue as intended third-party beneficiaries of trail commissions owed under the agreements.
While Ohio National has 14-days to object to the report and recommendation, the company faces an up-hill battle. Two federal judges have now concluded that financial representatives are intended beneficiaries under Ohio National’s variable annuity selling agreements. The takeaway for all financial representatives is clear: If you sold Ohio National’s variable annuities and had your trail commissions cut off last year, you have a cause of action against Ohio National. Potentially tens of thousands of financial representatives may now be heard in court.
The attorneys at Helmer, Martins, Rice & Popham, Co., L.P.A. and Sarraf Gentile LLP intend to capitalize on this victory and will continue to fight for those owed trail commissions from Ohio National. If you are a broker-dealer or financial advisor impacted by Ohio National’s actions, please contact us today to discuss your legal rights or how to join the class action, at no cost and without obligation.