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Wall Street Wrongful Termination Dispute Ends With A Whimper
Written: September 20, 2012

English: Question marks with transparent backg...

In a Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (“FINRA”) Arbitration Statement of Claim filed in November 2011, Claimant Blanchard asserted

  • wrongful termination,
  • violation of the Massachusetts Wage Act, and
  • breach of the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing.

Claimant sought $293,550 in compensatory damages, $587,000 in treble damages, and attorneys’ fees. In the Matter of the FINRA Arbitration Between Frederick Clifford Blanchard, Claimant, vs. Bostonia Global Securities, LLC, Respondent (FINRA Arbitration 11-04150, September 19, 2012).

Respondent  Bostonia Global generally denied the allegations, asserted various affirmative defenses, and filed a Counterclaim alleging a failure to repay an outstanding draw balance. In its Counterclaim, Bostonia Global sought $131,666 in compensatory damages, interest, costs, and fees.

Awards

The FINRA Arbitration Panel found Respondent Bostonia Global  liable for and ordered it to pay to Claimant Blanchard $27,500 in compensatory damages.

The Panel also found Claimant Blanchard liable for and ordered him to pay to Respondent $1,000 as reimbursement for the costs of mediation that did not occur.

Said awards to offset and result in a net award to Claimant of $26,500.

Bill Singer‘s Comment

This case is short but not sweet and the lack of background is absolutely frustrating given how interesting this dispute appears to have been.  As best we can infer from the Decision’s brief recitation, the Claimant felt that he had been wrongfully terminated and demanded about $300,000 in damages plus a good old trebling of damages as provided for under state statute. On its side of the balance sheet, the employer seems to have felt it was left holding the bag on some $131,000 in an unearned draw.

Yeah, I know, you and I would both love to learn more of the details and whether the parties got close to settling this matter.  Alas, the FINRA Arbitration Panel seems to have bestowed upon us a puzzle rather than a comprehensive explanation of why we got to a hearing and why the Panel ruled as it did.  Readers of “Street Sweeper” know that this is a pet peeve of mine in terms of the disservice that suchDecisions render to the industry and public.

Employment disputes are common grist for the FINRA Arbitration mill — and these cases are subject to mandatory intra-industry arbitration, regardless of whether the employee feels that the forum is fair or the rules pro-management.  Given those conflicts and concerns, thousands of men and women are forced to litigate against their employer firms at FINRA’s arbitration forum.  These employees come from all industry segments: indie/regionals, mom-and-pops, and the likes of Merrill LynchWells FargoUBS, JP Morgan, and Morgan Stanley Smith Barney.  Much is at stake! At a minimum, the arbitration Decision should present a very clear statement of the facts, a full explanation of the dispute, and a cogent rationale for any award.

In the end, the Claimant was awarded about a 9% of the compensatory damages that he sought but the Respondent was denied any recovery for the disputed draw.  Given those facts, I have no idea how to pick a winner here.  Anyone got a coin?


 
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