It's a hot Friday in July. Everyone has their eye on the clock. Those who are physically in the office are dreaming about being at the beach. Those who are physically at the beach aren't thinking about being in the office. In consideration that we would all rather be somewhere else today, here's a short BrokeAndBroker.com Blog involving a disgruntled employee suing a former employer in a FINRA arbitration and obtaining an award.
Case In Point
In a Financial Industry Regulatory Authority ("FINRA") Arbitration Statement of Claim filed in August 2014, Claimant Gatens asserted causes of action including breach of written employment agreement, unlawful withholding of wages and retaliation; and fraud. Claimant sought $1,000,000.00 in compensatory and punitive damages; attorneys' fees; interest; and costs. Further, Claimant sought the acceleration and "exchangeability" of his Partnership Shares; and a declaratory judgment that any restrictive covenants are void and unenforceable. In the Matter of the FINRA Arbitration Between John Thomas Gatens, Claimant, vs. BGC Financial, L.P. , Robert Andre Kellan, Daniel LaVecchia, and Louis James Scotto, Respondents (FINRA Arbitration 14-02419, July 16, 2015).
Respondents generally denied the allegations and asserted various affirmative defenses.
SIDE BAR: According to online FINRA BrokerCheck records as of July 24, 2015, Gatens was first registered in 1994 and has no reportable regulatory or litigation history. In essence, he is a thirty-year industry veteran with a clean history and enmeshed in an post-employment compensation dispute.
The FINRA Arbitration Panel found Respondent BGC Financial, L.P. liable and ordered it to pay to Claimant $21,413.00 in compensatory damages plus 3% interest beginning 30 days after the date of the award until the award is paid in full. All other claims were denied
Bill Singer's Comment
I reported this brief arbitration because it demonstrates that a former employees do, in fact, sue their former employers and, more critically, can win an award from a FINRA Arbitration Panel. As to whether a $1 million claim for damages that results in a $21,413.00 award is "successful" is another matter -- and since we have virtually no background or rationale presented in the FINRA Arbitration Decision, we have no basis to determine if Gatens truly emerged a victor. Clearly the individual Respondents were not found liable, so that's a win for them.
And now for today's musical interlude -- for which there is no more perfect song than this: