October 10, 2020
These days, everyone's on edge. We've all about had it. What with working from home with questionable bandwidth and crappy connectivity, trying to reach lots of other folks who are all suffering the same online issues, and then, when you finally get the other party, the screen freezes, the connection sputters and fails, and, damn, good luck trying to reconnect. Which likely explains Aegis Frumento's frustration with President Trump and Covid and Biden and the upcoming election and who's sick and who's smart.
In a recent federal lawsuit, Susan Welo, a former Cetera Advisor Networks LLC registered representative, sued AdvisorNet Financial, Inc., the so-called "transition team" that both assisted her transition to Cetera and served as her Office of Supervisory Jurisdiction ("OSJ"). Welo sheds an unwelcome light upon the manner in which brokerage firms divide up various regulatory and compliance obligations. It's not a pretty thing to behold. It all involves far too winks and smirks. And all of this goes on under the very noses of those who are supposed to regulate.
I've listened to Spirit's "Taurus." I didn't need to listen to Led Zeppelin's "Stairway to Heaven" because it's carved into my soul. Taurus ain't Stairway to Heaven. Not even close. Sure, you can hear something in Taurus that sounds like a fragment of Page's famous guitar lead in Stairway to Heaven, but, hell, you can often hear faint traces of parts of so many songs in so many other songs. You got plagiarism and you got inspiration. Two different things. Thankfully, a federal jury concurred with my keen ear and dismissed the copyright infringement claim in Skidmore v. Led Zeppelin. The United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit affirmed the trial court's findings and yesterday the United States Supreme Court declined to grant certiorari.
The BrokeAndBroker.com Blog publisher, Bill Singer, Esq., frequently derides what he calls the "lack of content and context" in FINRA Arbitration Awards; and he is unapologetic about shining an unwelcome light upon the inequities of mandatory consumer and industry arbitration. That being said, Bill absolutely loved a FINRA Arbitration Award involving an angry public customer's investments in unpopular Puerto Rican debt -- and, on top of that, a federal district court just confirmed that award. Sometimes content and context come together. Sometimes Bill is happy.
Some litigants jump the gun in an effort to improve the so-called "optics" of litigation. In situations where two parties each have claims against the other, there's a sense that it's better to be cast in the role of the Claimant than of the Respondent. The theory is that it's better to frame the lawsuit in the language of the aggrieved rather than as the alleged malefactor. In a 2019 FINRA arbitration, a public customer representing himself pro se sought to recover hundreds of thousands of dollars in put-sales losses. In response to his claims, the respondent brokerage firm counterclaimed for a couple of hundred thousand in its own claimed damages. And after the arbitrators issued their decision, the litigants moved on to battle it out in federal court.