FINRA Arbitration Soccer Match Ends With Penalty Kicks

August 24, 2016

I'm just not a big soccer fan. I guess it's because the sport often strikes me as a game where 20 players run back and forth for about an hour (with two guys dressed differently standing around in front of a goal) but there's always some hidden extra time added at the end when time was supposed to run out but apparently didn't. Then there's that whole thing when one athlete pretends to be grievously injured and needs to be taken off the field on a stretcher, only to miraculously recover on the sidelines (or even before they get him there) and then runs back into the game. A particularly colorful part of soccer is the waving of all those red and yellow cards and the theatrical remonstrances of those against whom the cards are being waved. One particularly annoying aspect of soccer, is the point in time when the clock finally, really, truly runs down to zero and there is either no score or a tied score: All of which renders the whole game as largely meaningless because each team sends a guy to go kick a ball one-and-one with the goalie. 

Frankly, I prefer American sports where players are taken off the field by ambulance; you have double and triple digit scoring; most of the season is meaningless because almost every team gets into the playoffs; and once a year you watch the championship game and consume lots of all-American guacamole and foreign beer (or American beer made by a company owned by foreigners). All of which reminds me of a recent FINRA soccer match . . . oops, I mean FINRA intra-industry arbitration.

Case In Point

In a Financial Industry Regulatory Authority ("FINRA") Arbitration Statement of Claim filed in August 2015, and as amended thereafter, former employee Claimant Storaska asserted that he had been defamed, libeled, or slandered when Respondent Durham had entered statements on his Form U5 after his termination from LPL Financial, LLC. Claimant sought an expungement of the cited language from his Central Registration Depository records  ("CRD"). Also, Claimant sought $2 million in compensatory damages, punitive damages, interest, attorneys' fees, and costs. In the Matter of the FINRA Arbitration Between Todd Frederic Storaska, Claimant, vs. LPL Financial, LLC and Mark Kipling Durham, Individually and d/b/a Texas Investment & Retirement Associates, Respondents (FINRA Arbitration 15-02271, August 16, 2016).

SIDE BAR: Everywhere I go, I get slandered, libeled, I hear words I never heard in the Bible . . . Just trying to keep the customer satisfied. 

Respondents LPL and Durham generally denied the allegations and asserted various affirmative defenses. Additionally, the Respondents filed a Counter-Claim in which they alleged that Storaska owed monies relating to Errors and Omissions insurance coverage. Counter-claimants sought $2,988.97 in compensatory damages, attorney's fees, and costs.


Having found defamation, the FINRA Arbitration Panel recommended the expungement of the matter from Claimant Storaska's CRD/ Form U5 and recommended that the "Reason For Termination" be revised from "Other" to "Voluntary" and that no "Termination Comment" be provided.

The FINRA Arbitration Panel found LPL liable to and ordered it to pay to Claimant Storaska $5,000 in compensatory damages and $42,500 in attorneys' fees.

The FINRA Arbitration Panel found Counter-Respondent Storaska liable and ordered him to pay to Counter-Claimant LPL $2,988.97 in compensatory damages.
  • The Panel off-set the compensatory damages awards and ordered a net payment from LPL to Storaska of $2,011.03 in compensatory damages (plus the attorneys' fees).
Bill Singer's Comment

Storaska claimed that he had been defamed, libeled, and slandered -- almost as if Simon & Garfunkle had written the Statement of Claim. Frankly, I was rooting for Storaska and hoped that he got his $2 million in damages plus punies, fees, and costs. Sadly, we have no idea as to what actually happened in this case or why the arbitrators ruled as they did because, yet again, FINRA's Arbitration Decision was relatively terse. I mean, geez, what the hell constitutes $5,000 in defamation, libel, and slander?  I'm waving a yellow card at FINRA!

Then there's that whole counterclaim for about $3,000 in lousy E&O coverage. Any sympathy I may have had for Respondent LPL went out the window with that.  Let's just say I would have given LPL a yellow card. On the other hand, the FINRA Arbitration Panel seemed to have bought the firm's claim.

This FINRA Arbitration pretty much ended in a tie but after penalty kicks, Storaska sort of came out ahead -- that is, if "ahead" means he won a couple of thousand and his lawyers got their bill paid. GOOOOOOOALLLLLLLLL!!!!!!