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Department of Justice asks for stay on fiduciary rule challenge pending agency review

The Department of Justice asked the judge overseeing one of several challenges to the Department of Labor’s fiduciary rule to stay the proceedings, following President Donald Trump’s memorandum to re-examine the rule.

U.S. District Judge Barbara M.G. Lynn in Dallas had expected to issue a ruling in the case later this week. In a motion filed Wednesday, DOJ lawyers asked for the stay pending a status report that DOL officials expect to file by March 10.

“The Department (of Labor) is carefully reviewing the issues raised in the president’s memorandum of Feb. 3, with the immediate goal of deciding the best course of action to implement its spirit and intent,” the motion said. In addition to assessing the legal options for delaying the rule’s April applicability date, the outcome of the DOL review “may differ in relevant ways” from the rule that is being challenged in the Texas case brought by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and other business groups. The lawsuit challenged the rulemaking cost-benefit analysis, which could now be updated, government lawyers said, and the rule itself may be “revised or rescinded.”

Federal district courts in Topeka, Kan., and Washington in 2016 upheld the rule in similar challenges, which have been appealed. A fourth case in Minneapolis has not been decided.