Former Merrill Lynch Colleagues Sue Each Other In FINRA Arbitration

May 22, 2012

Balanza de la JusticiaIn a Financial Industry Regulatory Authority ("FINRA") Arbitration Statement of Claim filed in August 2010, Claimant Turbeville sought to recover unspecified dollar amounts of compensatory and punitive damages, attorneys, fees, and costs as a result of alleged defamation; tortious interference; conversion; and, breach of contract, which purportedly arose within the context of the Claimant's and Respondent Eason's employment relationship at a FINRA member firm. In the Matter of the FINRA Arbitration Between John R. Turbeville, Claimant, v. Erin Eason, Respondent (FINRA Arbitration 10-03627, May 18, 2012).

Respondent Eason generally denied the allegtions, asserted various affirmative defenses, and file a Counterclaim ultimately seeking between $100,000 and $500,000 in compensatory damages plus punitive damages, attorneys' fee, and costs.

SIDE BAR: According to online FINRA regulatory records not referenced in this arbitration, Claimant Turbeville was employed at Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith, Inc. from approximately August 2005 through January 4, 2010, at which time he was discharged for "Conduct resulting in the loss of management's trust and confidence." Respondent Eason's online FINRA regulatory records show registration with Merrill from August 2005 through January 2009.

On May 7, 2009, the State of Arkansas initiated proceedings involving Turbeville in which the state alleged the registered investment adviser representative (1) provided unsuitable investment advice; (2) failed to act in the best interest of his clients; (3) failed to observe the high standards of commercial honor and just and equitable principles of trade; (4) sent solicitation letters and made sales of marketing presentations while not registered.  Thereafter, on June 17, 2010, the matter apparently settled on the basis of a $28,000 fine and a 21-day investment adviser representative suspension. See, Consent Order.


The FINRA Arbitration Panel denied with prejudice both the Claim and Counterclaim; however, the Panel added this lovely little fillip:

The Panel would like to note that the conduct of Claimant and another financial advisor that worked with Claimant while employed at a FINRA member firm constitutes a serious breach of the ethical standards expected of FINRA Associated Persons and those of the securities industry in general.

The parties shall cease and desist from talking about the other in any meetings involving their respective clients and prospective clients.