Today's BrokeAndBroker.com Blog features a $1.8 million FINRA Arbitration Award to a former PNC employee, who alleged that she had been defamed and wrongfully terminated. The FINRA arbitrators found that the PNC employee's termination was "pre-textual, arbitrary, and unreasonable." If you read the decision slowly, you can almost hear the ka-ching, ka-ching, and ka-ching of the old litigation cash register as each of those conclusions were entered into the document.Case In PointIn a Financial Industry Regulatory Authority ("FINRA") Arbitration Statement of Claim filed in December 2015, Claimant Mennemeyer asserted against her former employer PNC defamation, wrongful termination, unfair competition, and tortious interference with business expectancy. Claimant sought compensatory and punitive damages, and the expungement of allegedly false information filed on her Form U5 in connection with what she characterized as her improper termination. In the Matter of the FINRA Arbitration Between Adrienne M. Mennemeyer, Claimant, vs. PNC Investments, Respondent (FINRA Arbitration 15-03275, April 18, 2017).Respondent PNC generally denied the allegations and asserted various affirmative defenses.
SIDE BAR: I wish that we knew more about the underlying dispute. As the case is presented in the Decision, we are told about the Claimant's causes of actions, the Respondent's denials, and, wham, the composition of the Award. Missing from that preamble is a substantive discussion of any substantive facts. About all we know is that Claimant alleged this and that and Respondent said "no way," and Claimant said "way" and Respondent said "seriously?" and Claimant said "uh uh" and Respondent said "take your best shot" and Claimant said "like what do you think I'm doing?" and Respondent said "we have no idea but we ain't payin' jack" and Claimant said "oh, you're gonna pay jack" and Respondent said "surely, we ain't paying jack" and Claimant said "don't call me Shirley." And, like I said, I wish that we knew more.
"Adrienne M. Mennemeyer was wrongfully discharged based on an allegation that she had violated a PNC Investments policy. PNC Investments failed to produce any evidence whatsoever that Adrienne M. Mennemeyer had violated any PNC Investments policy. Adrienne M. Mennemeyr's discharge was pre-textual, arbitrary, and unreasonable. Adrienne M. Mennemeyer, at all times, acted in a manner public policy would encourage." . . .The Panel recommended that the U5's "Reason for Termination" remain the same but that the "YES" answer to to Question 7F(1) be changed to a "NO: and the Disclosure Reporting Page deleted.
Termination Disclosure 7F. Did the individual voluntarily resign from your firm, or was the individual discharged or permitted to resign from your firm, after allegations were made that accused the individual of: 1. violating investment-related statutes, regulations, rules or industry standards of conduct? 2. fraud or the wrongful taking of property? 3. failure to supervise in connection with investment-related statutes, regulations, rules or industry standards of conductBill Singer's Comment