Pro Se Former Employee Beat Wells Fargo / Wachovia in FINRA Arbitration

July 11, 2011

In a Financial Industry Regulatory Authority ("FINRA") Arbitration Statement of Claim filed in January 2011, Claimant Wells Fargo sought $11,000 in damages, $1,475.00 in filing fees, and $3,300.00 in collection fees for an amount owed pursuant to the terms of an Investment Broker Agreement and subsequent settlement agreement. Claimant Wells Fargo was represented by its in-house legal counsel Michael Naccarato, Esq. Respondent DeBord represented himself pro se.

In the FINRA Arbitration Between Wells Fargo Advisors, LLC, formerly known as Wachovia Securities LLC, Claimant, vs. Laurence Debord, Respondent (FINRA Arbitration 11-00135, June 29, 2011)

You Lose - Because I Say So

In adjudicating this FINRA arbitration, the sole FINRA Arbitrator advises us that

1) Claimant's claim is denied in its entirety. 2) Claimant's request for interest is denied. 3) Claimant's request for costs is denied. 4) All other relief requests are denied. 5) FINRA Dispute Resolution shall retain the $1,050.00 filing fee previously deposited by Claimant. OTHER FEES: Claimant was assessed the $425.00 Member Surcharge.

Bill Singer's Comment

I mean, really

Claimant Wells Fargo, a humongous financial services firm, files a FINRA Arbitration for a lousy $11,000 in compensatory damages, plus all the add-on fees and costs they can toss in there.  Apparently, we got to this point after Debord told Wells Fargo that he ain't repaying them anywhere near what they wanted and, you know - bring it on!. 

And when all was said in done, wow, did Claimant Wells Fargo miscalculate.  Little Mr. Debord, with not so much as a single overpriced defense lawyer, ducked all that Wells Fargo tossed his way, flung his puny stone smack dab between their eyes, and stepped back as the giant tumbled down. Goose eggs. Zero. Nada. Zip. That was all Wells Fargo had to show for it's FINRA arbitration claim against Debord. In the terse words of the sole FINRA Arbitrator: denied, denied, denied, and denied.

Frankly, for such a dramatic shut-out, it might have been just a tad helpful - dare I say, informative? - if the FINRA Decision provided the barest bones of Arbitrator's rationale for this outcome. 

Was Wells Fargo's case garbage to start with?

Was pro se litigant Debord an attorney who previously argued before the United States Supreme Court, and he stunned the FINRA Arbitrator with his brilliant legal defense?

Was the FINRA arbitrator outraged by Wells Fargo's claims or enamored with the Respondent?

Given the unequal positions of these two litigants and the basic you-owe-us premise of the case, how the hell did Claimant Wells Fargo lose this one?  Alas, guess away. I can't contribute much else beyond barely contained anger.  Frankly, it's a damn shame that FINRA, once again, believes that arbitration by titillation is appropriate.