Skadden secured yet another dismissal in a series of similar class actions filed against client AXA Equitable Life Insurance Company. The putative class action alleged that AXA Equitable breached its contractual duties to variable annuity holders by implementing a volatility management strategy in certain investment portfolios. The complaint claimed that the company's purported omissions in regulatory filings with New York's Department of Financial Services breached certain terms of the plaintiff's variable annuity contract.
AXA Equitable removed the action from Connecticut state court to federal court under the Securities Litigation Uniform Standards Act (SLUSA) and successfully obtained its transfer to the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York. On March 30, Judge Vernon S. Broderick of the Southern District of New York denied the plaintiff's motion to remand and dismissed the complaint with prejudice, holding that the plaintiff's contract claim was precluded by SLUSA.