A New York judge has dismissed a lawsuit against H&R Block Inc. brought in March by New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer.Spitzer, now New York’s governor-elect, has said he will likely re-file the suit before the end of the year. The original lawsuit accused Block and its subsidiary, H&R Block Financial Advisors Inc., of fraudulently marketing retirement savings accounts to customers and drew a flurry of publicity. Two months later, Spitzer amended the lawsuit, accusing Block of punishing employees who refused to sell the accounts.
New York Supreme Court Justice Karla Moskowitz dismissed the case earlier this month, saying that Spitzer's office lacks jurisdiction over Block because the parent company has no physical presence in New York state. She also noted that while the financial advisers unit does work with a bank in New York, Spitzer had shown no misconduct at the unit, which marketed the Express IRA retirement product.
Block has vigorously denied the allegations of fraud and abusive marketing and said that Spitzer had ignored facts and taken information out of context.
According to the Wall Street Journal, Moskowitz said that while Spitzer may refile the suit if his office can remedy its failings, the attorney general’s office had its work cut out for it regarding the jurisdictional issue. She said that the suit’s deficiencies came despite, "extensive discovery," in which, "Block Inc. produced thousands of documents and permitted [the AG's office] to take seven depositions."
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