Cook County Record

Tuesday, February 18, 2020

Appeals panel tosses Thrivent's attempts to shut down Illinois Securities Dept. investigation


By Gabriel Neves | Sep 7, 2018

General court 06

CHICAGO –  A state appeals panel has dealt a setback to Thrivent Investment Management's efforts to thwart a state investigation into the company's activities.

On Aug. 28, a three-justice panel of the Illinois First District Appellate Court ruled in an unpublished order to affirm a Cook County judge's decision to reject a lawsuit filed by Thrivent to stop the Illinois Securities Department, under the Illinois Secretary of State's office, from "investigating allegations that Thrivent committed fraud in the sale of variable annuities."

The order, which was authored by Justice Carl Anthony Walker, was issued under Supreme Court Rule 23, which limits its use as precedent.

Thrivent had request an injunction to shut down the Illinois Securities Department's investigation after the state regulatory agency in October 2015 had "sent a Statement of Evidence to Thrivent, alleging Thrivent committed acts that could subject Thrivent to suspension of its registrations as an investment adviser and securities dealer."

Thrivent sued, alleging the investigation "centered on Thrivent's sales of variable annuities, and the Illinois Department of Insurance had exclusive jurisdiction over sales of variable annuities."

The company later "amended the complaint to add a claim that the Securities Department's discovery requests violated Thrivent's constitutional rights."

Cook County CIrcuit Judge Rodolfo Garcia dismissed both versions of the complaint.

Thrivent responded to the dismissal by asserting "only the Attorney General had authority to initiate the proceedings against Thrivent, and the attorney who sent the notice of hearing worked for the Securities Department, not the Attorney General."

The document also mentioned that the attorney general "appointed two attorneys who worked for the Securities Department to act as special assistant Attorneys General for the case against Thrivent," pursuing charges against the company.

Justice Walker, however, found that "the circuit court did not abuse its discretion by denying Thrivent leave to include in its amended complaint a claim regarding the authorization of special assistant attorney generals, which would have been a frivolous claim."

In regards to constitutional rights, Walker pointed to Thrivent's lack of facts to sustain that claim.

"Thrivent has not stated facts that could support a finding that judicial processes will fail to protect its constitutional rights to due process and freedom from unreasonable searches," Walker said.

Justices Aurelia Pucinski and Michael Hyman concurred in the decision.

Illinois First District Appellate Court Case number 1-17-1913

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