Significant Recent Decisions
Barbara Adams v. Michael A. Randall, State Farm VP Management Corp., and Lynne Little; York County Court of Common Pleas; 2005-SU-2318-Y01; action for breach of fiduciary duty and negligent supervision. Settled in favor of Plaintiff in May, 2006, in an amount to remain confidential. The financial terms may be determined by examining Michael Randall's CRD on the NASD web site or the Pennsylvania Securities Commission web site.
Michael and Gwendolyn Slack v. Joseph J. Coffey and Merrill Lynch, NYSE 2003-014692. Action for breach of fiduciary duty and negligent supervision. Settled in favor of the Slacks in January, 2005, in an amount required to be kept confidential. The terms of the agreement can be reviewed by examining the Joseph J. Coffey CRD which appears on the websites of the NASD and the Pennsylvania Securities Commission.
The account opening documents you signed years ago had a provision that was not fully explained to you. That provision requires you to arbitrate your claim before a self regulating organization (SRO). The New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) and the National Association of Securities Dealers (NASD) are the two best known SRO entities. Both have merged and are now known as FINRA. It should come as no surprise that the procedures tend to be more favorable to the securities industry than they are to individual investors.
We guide you through the process, beginning with the filing of a Statement of Claim, the selection of an arbitration panel, pre-hearing discovery, and presentation of the case. Where arbitration is not required, a decision must be made whether to proceed through the arbitration process on a voluntary basis or to initiate suit in state or federal court. Most litigators prefer a juried courtroom presentation over an arbitration presentation. We feel strongly that the greatest safeguard of your rights happens before a jury and we always explore avenues to bypass arbitration. Given the very limited post-hearing review available under the Federal and Pennsylvania Arbitration Acts, given the limitations on pre-hearing discovery, and the institutional slant in favor of the securities industry, arbitration is not our preferred method of resolution.
Whatever the method used to resolve your claim, we bring to bear every tool of technology and every legal and persuasive skill to aggressively establish your point of view with the decision maker. While successful outcomes can never be guaranteed, our coordinated staff effort creates the environment that makes it more likely to occur.
A strong presentation draws on many skills, including creative writing, effective exhibit preparation, employment of knowledgeable experts, oral advocacy, and relentless preparation. We prepare cases to be tried, not just to be settled. Your opponent is likely to be a major brokerage house with a huge litigation budget. They are sophisticated enough to know the difference between a case being processed for settlement as opposed to one being prepared for trial.