Blog by Bill Singer Esq WEEK IN REVIEW

March 5, 2022
In these plague days, in these pre- or post-Apocalyptic times, there's often nothing like a good tale to divert our attention from the daily horrors with which we live. In that spirit, I shall gladly accept the role of raconteur and offer a story of intrigue, of dubious derring-do, of international men of mystery, and, in the end, of a garden variety investor fraud somewhat gussied up by a lot of hyperbole.
A close friend of yours is in a bind and needs a few thousand bucks for home renovations. You lend him the money.  As it turns out, you're a stockbroker. Happily, your friend fully repays you. Some of the repayment comes from the friend's brokerage account and some comes from his bank account. No one's complaining. Everyone's happy. That is, until FINRA pokes its nose into the loan.
Every so often, we are confronted with what I call the "three-handed dilemma" -- you know, when you start with "on the one hand," and then go to "on the other hand," and then find yourself compelled to note another "on the other hand." In an unfolding drama involving a private equity fund manager, the New York State Attorney General, a FINRA registered person, and FINRA, we are quickly running out of hands. On the one hand, we started with the NYAG's victory in a private-equity-fund fraud case. On the other hand, the defendants have appealed the court Order in the NYAG's case. On the other hand, FINRA stepped into the fray with some apparent justification but not without some questionable conduct of its own. Which then prompted a series of on the other hands when FINRA found itself in state court and then federal court and then back in state court.
Let's assume that you just got called into your boss' office and fired. You're angry. The termination was garbage and undertaken in bad faith, or so you say. As you simmer in anger, you dial a lawyer, pay her retainer, and find yourself before a FINRA Arbitration Panel seeking damages for "wrongful termination." Your former employer says you're an at-will employee, and, further, that you and your lawyer are morons because, obviously, you can't wrongfully terminate someone who's an at-will employee. Cleverly, your lawyer argues to the arbitrators that an at-will employee can't be forced to litigate an employment dispute before a FINRA Arbitration Panel; and, since we're all arguing before such a panel, my client was not an at-will employee and, as such, he was wrongfully terminated! Read today's blog to see how the case fared.