A three-judge panel of the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, by a 2-1 split decision, has issued a ruling vacating the Department of Labor’s fiduciary rule effective as early as May 7, 2018.
The DOL has 45 days to request a review of the 3-judge panel’s decision by the full 5th Circuit, which could overturn the panel’s ruling. The DOL also could petition the Supreme Court to hear the case. Or, DOL could do nothing, in which the case the 3-judge panel’s ruling would stand and the fiduciary rule, including all its exemptions, would be invalidated.
It isn’t clear what DOL will decide to do. But if they do decide to appeal, either to the full 5th Circuit or directly to the Supreme Court, the 3-judge panel’s ruling almost certainly will be stayed during the appellate process. So for the time being at least, stakeholders should continue complying with the DOL rule.