Nick V. LUJAN; et al., Plaintiffs-Appellants, v. NEW YORK LIFE INSURANCE COMPANY, a New York corporation; New York Life Insurance and Annuity Corporation, a Delaware corporation, Defendants-Appellees.
Decided: December 02, 2019
Before: IKUTA and HURWITZ, Circuit Judges, and MOLLOY,* District Judge.
Robert M. Bramson, Esquire, Attorney, Jennifer S. Rosenberg, Esquire, Attorney, Bramson, Plutzik, Mahler & Birkhaeuser, LLP, Walnut Creek, CA, for Plaintiffs-Appellants Laura Leigh Geist, Attorney, Andrew S. Azarmi, Attorney, Dentons US LLP, San Francisco, CA, for Defendants-Appellees Thomas A. Evans, Attorney, Alston & Bird LLP, San Francisco, CA, for Amicus Curiae American Council for Life Insurers
Nick Lujan appeals the district court’s dismissal of his complaint against New York Life Insurance Company (New York Life) for failure to state a claim pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. We have jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. § 1291.
The district court granted New York Life’s motion to dismiss based on its rulings that: (1) New York Life was exempt from the requirement that “interest shall not be compounded ․ unless an agreement to that effect is clearly expressed in writing and signed by the party to be charged therewith,” Cal. Civ. Code § 1916-2 (the disclosure requirement); and, in the alternative, (2) New York Life complied with the disclosure requirement. Because California law in this area was unsettled, we certified two questions respecting these issues to the California Supreme Court, see Wishnev v. Nw. Mut. Life Ins. Co., 880 F.3d 493, 495 (9th Cir. 2018), which subsequently answered the first of our two questions, see Wishnev v. Nw. Mut. Life Ins. Co., No. S246541, 254 Cal.Rptr.3d 638, 451 P.3d 777, 2019 WL 5996921 (Cal. Nov. 14, 2019).
Under the California Supreme Court’s ruling, lenders that are exempt from restrictions on interest rates under Article XV, section 1 of the California Constitution, see Cal. Const. art XV, § 1, are exempt from the disclosure requirement in section 1916-2 of the California Civil Code, Wishnev, 254 Cal.Rptr.3d 638, 451 P.3d at 788, 2019 WL 5996921, at *11. On appeal, the parties assumed that New York Life was an exempt lender under section 1100.1 of the California Insurance Code at the relevant time. See id. at 782–83, 789, at *5, 11 n.17. Therefore, under the California Supreme Court’s ruling, and assuming that New York Life was an exempt lender at the relevant time,1 New York Life is exempt from the disclosure requirement and Lujan’s Complaint fails to state a claim.
1. Because the parties “assumed that [New York Life] was an exempt lender at all relevant times” and did not address the question “whether a lender’s designation as exempt under article XV applies retroactively to a loan that may predate the designation,” Wishnev, 254 Cal.Rptr.3d 638, 451 P.3d at 789 n.17, 2019 WL 5996921, at *11 n.17, we do not consider this issue.
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