Blog by Bill Singer WEEK IN REVIEW

July 30, 2016

When it comes to matters of trusts (and maybe trustees), famed Wall Street regulator Billy Joel warns that After you've heard lie upon lie, There can hardly be a question of why. As a recent FINRA regulatory case demonstrates, you get a chance to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth when it comes to getting a broker-dealer's permission to serve as a Trustee. Think carefully before you open your mouth or sign your name at the bottom of a certification. READ

In the song "The End of The Innocence" the lyrics lament that: 

When happily ever after fails
And we've been poisoned by these fairy tales
The lawyers dwell on small details

As always, we lawyers get cast in a less than flattering light but, hey, that's life and it sort of comes with the big bucks that we charge and the fact that we're often dealing with situations where lives are falling apart or careers in danger. In today's Blog, we consider a lawsuit in which several long-term employees leave their employer and all hell breaks loose. The good times, the old team-work, the hanging in there there when things were rough -- that's all forgotten and the knives come out.  It's not a pretty picture. Frankly, it's sad that this is too often how relationships on Wall Street end. Regardless, there are lessons to be warned for those thinking of packing it up and taking their show on another road. READ

There's this wonderful Old Testament quote from "Ecclesiastes" Chapter 9, Verse 11:

I returned, and saw under the sun, that the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, neither yet bread to the wise, nor yet riches to men of understanding, nor yet favour to men of skill; but time and chance happeneth to them all.

When it comes to litigation, that biblical verse is spot on. Those who get to the courthouse first don't always win. Those represented by the best-educated and highest-priced lawyers don't always win. You can be the most intelligent and savvy guy in the world but if a jury doesn't believe you or a judge finds the legal theory of your case lacking, it ain't gonna help. In the end, time and chance often influence lawsuits more than anything.

In today's Blog, we consider the case of a public customer who took comfort in the wise words of Ecclesiastes. The customer Claimant took his time to get to the starting line in terms of even filing his initial complaint. His attorney really worked hard at using whatever law and facts were at his disposal (and maybe even reaching a bit beyond his grasp). In the end, however, a panel of arbitrators concluded that the unhappy customers' time had run out and that Lady Luck was not smiling on him. Time and chance . . . indeed! READ

In today's Blog, we consider a dueling claims in a wrongful termination arbitration. The former employees are demanding about $100,000 for being untimely kicked to the curb. The former employer argues that it was defrauded by over-blown representations of trailing commissions. It's a white-knuckler that goes down to the wire. READ Blog publisher Bill Singer doesn't like today's reported FINRA Arbitration Decision involving a customer complaint. First, it's unclear whether the customer claims alleged misconduct that should have resulted in any award --but the rendering of the six-figure award may be entirely appropriate but for the fact that there is no meaningful content and context provided in the Decision and no rationale for the award. Second, we are confronted with the puzzling anomaly of how and why the customer complaint and Award appear on the BrokerCheck files of the FINRA member firm but not on the BrokerCheck files of the registered representative. READ