NRA v. Oliver North

Court Rules Against NRA and Postpones Case Against Former President Oliver North

October 2, 2020

Filing Summary

On October 6, 2020, a New York Supreme Court (Albany County) judge ruled against the NRA in its attempt to move forward with litigation against its former board president Oliver North. Recall, in early 2019, North began making inquiries into apparent financial mismanagement and conflict of interest transactions at the NRA. His inquiries led to a power struggle within the NRA that resulted in his ouster.

The NRA sued North, seeking his removal from the NRA and the NRA Board of Directors. The Court, in its ruling, sided with North in staying the litigation between the NRA and North until the competition of the New York Attorney General’s lawsuit with the NRA and four of its top executives. The Court’s reasoned there was a “significant likelihood that determination of the [New York Attorney General case] would dispose of this case [between North and the NRA] or limit the issues to be adjudicated.” (p.14).  The Court further noted that “North is obviously a key fact witness” in the New York Attorney General matter. (p.13).   

This decision followed a September 28th oral argument on the issues between the parties. The transcript of that proceeding indicates that counsel for Oliver North described North’s time at the NRA as follows:  

“Colonel North was a team player. He wasn’t Inspector Clouseau that arrived in the presidency and started ferreting this thing out himself. It slapped him in the face like that cold bucket of water you see put on the coach after an NFL victory. All of a sudden he’s sitting there, as president, and it’s something that shocked him and disgusted him, so what did he do? He diligently wrote down and asked the audit committee for an outside, independent investigation about the legal fees, a confidential one, just do that, don’t show North the bills, they didn’t show him the bill. He had very little power, it turns out, as president, so he established what is called, by letter of April 25, 2019, a crisis management committee to deal with all of these things; every time he was stopped by Wayne LaPierre, stopped by NRA counsel. And, Your Honor, the complaint, by the State of New York, alleges all of these things to be accurate.”

Key Points