Liddle & Robinson Attorneys at Law New York City

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» Reputational Harm/Defamation

Found 18 Results.
On March 2, 2012, a FINRA Arbitration Panel award Mr. Kuhn damages in the amount of $900,000 stemming from Morgan Stanley’s tortious interference with his contract at another brokerage firm. The Panel also expunged Mr. Kuhn’s Form U-5, finding that the statements published by Morgan Stanley on that document were false and defamatory.

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On December 15, 2011, a FINRA Arbitration Panel awarded Mr. Kipper damages in the amount of $650,000 stemming from Merrill Lynch’s termination of his employment and damage caused to his reputation. Mr. Kipper – who worked as an FA in Merrill Lynch’s Albany, New York office – claimed that he was terminated amidst false allegations that he was responsible for losses incurred by the City of Springfield, Massachusetts.

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On March 19, 2010, L&R won a jury trial in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York for its client, William Raedle, in which the jury found that Mr. Raedle’s former employer, Credit Agricole Indosuez, and his former boss, Lee Shaiman, tortiously interfered with a job offer that he had secured at the Dreyfus Corporation by making derogatory comments about him that caused Dreyfus to rescind a job offer. The jury awarded Mr. Raedle lost earnings of $1,023,922, damages for loss to reputation of $600,000, punitive damages of $600,000 from Credit Agricole and punitive damages of $200,000 from Mr. Shaiman. Subsequently, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit overturned the jury’s decision when it determined that the trial Court abused its discretion when it previously granted Plaintiff’s Rule 59(a) motion for a new trial.
On February 16, 2009, Doug Shaw was awarded $1.2 million for his claims of wrongful termination and defamation, by an arbitration panel of the New York Stock Exchange.

Mr. Shaw, a 20-year veteran of Salomon Smith Barney (SSB), had been a top Financial Advisor at the firms Greenwich, Connecticut branch office until his departure on September 1, 2005. On September 9, 2005, SSB filed a Form U-5 for Shaw, stating that we was Permitted to resign and disclosed that the reason was manager discretion  non-sales practice. Mr. Shaw alleged that SSB wrongfully terminated his employment and filed a false U-5 with the specific intent of keeping his assets under management with the firm.

Throughout the arbitration hearings, SSB unsuccessfully argued that Mr. Shaw was an employee at will and therefore could be terminated without just cause. Additionally, Respondent unsuccessfully tried to establish that there was just cause in terminating Mr. Shaw because he supposedly failed to disclose certain information about several clients.
Jeffrey L. Liddle, Esq. of Liddle & Robinson, L.L.P. in New York City, represent Mr. Shaw.

Lawyer(s): Jeffrey L. Liddle

L&R's client, William Raedle, sued his former employer Credit Agricole Indosuez (CAI) and his former managers, on grounds that (1) CAI breached his employment agreement by failing to pay him $250,000 in unpaid salary and bonuses and (2) CAI and one of his former managers tortiously interfered with a job that the Mellon Financial Corporation (Dreyfus) had offered to him. On September 18, 2008, the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York denied the Defendants motion for summary judgment. Click here to read the Court's Opinion.
On April 2, 2008, the Honorable James C. Francis IV, United States Magistrate Judge, granted the request of former Banc of America Securities analyst Jerry Treppel to compel Biovail Corporation and its former CEO, Eugene Melnyk, to produce additional electronic discovery in his pending litigation against them. In so doing, the Court held that Biovail's efforts to preserve electronic evidence were inadequate. In particular, Biovail failed to preserve backup tapes in existence at the time it received notice from Mr. Treppel's counsel to preserve all relevant electronic information. Judge Francis deemed defendants' inaction sufficient to constitute gross negligence or recklessness.

To ameliorate the harm caused to Mr. Treppel as a result of these preservation failures, the Court ordered defendants to produce Mr. Melnyk's laptop to plaintiff's forensic expert, who will, at defendants' expense, conduct a thorough forensic examination in an effort to recover additional relevant e-mails that were deleted by Mr. Melnyk. Moreover, defendants are required to restore and search six additional backup tapes, and to potentially pay the costs of additional discovery warranted by any further relevant evidence uncovered. In reaching its decision, the Court frequently cited to Zubulake IV and Zubulake V -- seminal decisions addressing a firm's obligations to preserve and produce electronic evidence, which this firm handled and which played a significant role in recent revisions to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure dealing with electronic evidence.

Although the Court declined to go so far as to grant an adverse inference instruction, Judge Francis noted that "[i]t seems quite possible, and even likely, that documents were destroyed as a result of defendants' failure to preserve. As was the case in Zubulake V, additional evidence discovered on the backup tapes to be restored may well serve to satisfy plaintiff's burden of establishing that at least some of the destroyed documents would have been favorable to his claims, thereby entitling him to an adverse inference instruction at trial."

Click here to read the April 2, 2008 Memorandum and Order in Treppel v. Biovail Corp., et al.; 03 Civ. 3002 (PKL) (JCF).

For more information, contact Jeffrey Liddle at 212-687-8500.

Lawyer(s): Jeffrey L. Liddle

On February 17, 2006, after a two week trial, a Phoenix, Arizona jury found in favor of Liddle & Robinson, L.L.P.'s client Philip L. Spartis on both his claims for defamation and invasion of privacy/false light. The jury awarded Mr. Spartis $400,000 in compensatory damages and $600,000 in punitive damages.
In August 2002, the Defendant, Stuart C. Goldberg, Esq. began operating a website at that concerned Mr. Spartis, Salomon Smith Barney, and the Atlanta Branch Office in which Mr. Spartis worked. Mr. Goldberg posted on his website a self-styled Special Study that he authored, called Salomon Smith Barney: Wordcom's Exclusive Employee Stock Options Administrator and SSB's Atlanta Branch Office's Boiler Room Operation. A second document authored by the defendant and published on his website was The Grubman Circle: Jack Grubman and Philip Spartis.
Mr. Goldberg published the Special Study and Grubman Circle to solicit SSB clients who had WorldCom stock and/or employee stock options to use his services to bring lawsuits against Mr. Spartis, and to assist other attorneys with similar claims.
Mr. Spartis served as a Senior Vice-President in Salomon Smith Barney's Atlanta Branch Office from 1984-1997, and as Director of the Corporate Client Group from 1997 until February of 2002. In these roles, Mr. Spartis helped win for Salomon Smith Barney, Inc. the exclusive right to administer WorldCom, Inc.'s employee stock option program, among many other corporate clients.
The jury found that Mr. Goldberg made numerous false and defamatory statements concerning Mr. Spartis in his Special Study and Grubman Circle. Mr. Goldberg, among other things, stated in these materials that Mr. Spartis engaged in criminal conduct, was a member of organized crime, a participant in securities fraud, and the head of a boiler room operation.
The case, Spartis v. Goldberg, (CV 2003-021588), was tried in the Superior Court of the State of Arizona, Maricopa County, before the Honorable Paul A. Katz. Liddle & Robinson, L.L.P. partner Jeffrey L. Liddle represented Mr. Spartis, with the assistance of Arizona counsel Peter T. Limperis (of Haralson, Miller, Pitt, Feldman & McAnally, P.L.C.). Terrence P. Wood and Marilyn D. Cage of Broening Oberg Wood Wilson & Cass represented Mr. Goldberg.

Lawyer(s): Jeffrey L. Liddle

On August 7, 2001, a NASD arbitration panel awarded our client, Stephen B. Sawtelle, $27,574,499, including $25 million in punitive damages, against Waddell & Reed, Inc. for violation of the Connecticut Unfair Trade Practices Act (CUTPA) in the manner in which it competed with Mr. Sawtelle after it terminated him as a mutual fund broker and he went to work for another firm. The award is for $1,827,499 in actual damages and $747,000 in attorneys' fees against Waddell & Reed and fourteen of its employees and agents and for $25 million in punitive damages against Waddell & Reed and Robert Hechler, its CEO. The punitive damages award is one of the largest ever in a securities industry arbitration. Waddell & Reed and the other Respondents were also ordered to pay all $110,300 of the NASD's forum fees, resulting in a refund to Mr. Sawtelle of the $21,440 in forum fees he had paid. The arbitrators denied Waddell & Reed's counterclaims against Mr. Sawtelle. In addition to awarding damages, the arbitrators ordered that defamatory information Waddell & Reed had placed on Mr. Sawtelle's Form U-5 be expunged. During the hearings, the arbitrators also granted our request to sanction the Respondents, ordering them to pay Mr. Sawtelle $2,000 each, for a total of $30,000, for violating an order of the arbitrators. Mr. Sawtelle was a mutual fund broker for Waddell & Reed, Inc. in Connecticut for 17 years until his termination in February 1997. Mr. Sawtelle had been the top-producing broker in the country for Waddell & Reed in 1996. In mid-1996, Waddell & Reed discovered that another broker, David Stevenson, had embezzled several million dollars from his customers. The SEC began an investigation in which Mr. Sawtelle testified. Mr. Sawtelle testified to the SEC that when Mr. Sawtelle was Mr. Stevenson's supervisor years before Mr. Stevenson's embezzlement was discovered, Waddell & Reed's upper management failed to follow Mr. Sawtelle's repeated recommendations that Mr. Stevenson's employment be terminated after other incidents of misconduct by Stevenson. When Waddell & Reed obtained a transcript of Mr. Sawtelle's testimony, Waddell & Reed terminated Mr. Sawtelle. Shortly after his termination, Mr. Sawtelle became a mutual fund broker for Hackett Associates, Inc. The Arbitration Panel found that "Respondent Waddell & Reed and Hechler through agents of Waddell & Reed demonstrated reprehensible conduct that warrants an award of punitive damages. The Panel further found that after Claimant [(Mr. Sawtelle)] was terminated Respondents orchestrated a campaign of deception which included, among other things, giving the impression to clients that Claimant had mishandled their investments, Claimant was untrustworthy, Claimant was no longer in business, Claimant was not authorized to do business, and Claimant was in some way involved with the embezzling of client funds. The Panel also found that Waddell & Reed, through its agents, re-routed Claimant's mail and his telephone lines, as a result, telephone calls and mail intended for Claimant were received by Waddell & Reed and its agents." On June 10, 2002, the New York State Supreme Court entered a Judgment, on behalf of Sawtelle, in the amount of $28,671,410.18, against Waddell & Reed and Robert Hechler (the firm's former CEO). This follows the May 31, 2002 Decision and Order of New York State Supreme Court Justice Michael D. Stallman, which confirmed, in spite of Waddell & Reed's motion to vacate, almost all of the arbitration award. Justice Stallman upheld all of the arbitrators' $25 million punitive damages award, the $747,000 attorneys' fee award, and the expungement of information from Mr. Sawtelle's Form U-5, and upheld $1,080,499 of the $1,827,499 compensatory damages award. The Court modified the award and reduced it by $747,000, on grounds that the compensatory damages award included attorneys' fees which were also awarded as a separate item. The Court also ordered over $1.8 million in interest to be paid on the arbitration award. Notably, Justice Stallman wrote in his Decision and Order, in connection with the arbitration panel's punitive damages award, that "[s]uffice it to say, the Panel's findings find support in the record. For example, there was evidence before the Panel that Waddell representatives implied to certain customers that Sawtelle had been fired because, like Stevenson [a different Waddell broker], he had embezzled client funds. In light of the Panel's findings, it was not unreasonable for the Panel to impose punitive damages in an amount that would, in fact, be punitive." In November 2002, Mr. Sawtelle was selected by the National Employment Lawyers' Association as one of its Courageous Plaintiffs. On February 11, 2003, the Appellate Division, First Department modified the Judgment entered by Justice Stallman to vacate the punitive damages award, "remanded to the original panel of arbitrators for reconsideration of the issue of punitive damages," and otherwise affirmed Justice Stallman's Judgment. (Sawtelle v. Waddell & Reed, Inc., 304 A.D.2d 103, 754 N.Y.S.2d 264 (1st Dep't 2003).) On February 25, 2003, Mr. Sawtelle was paid $2,069,620.80, comprised of the confirmed $1,080,499 in compensatory damages, the confirmed $747,000 attorneys' fee award, plus $242,121.80 in interest on those amounts. On September 4, 2003, after reviewing the parties' written submissions and holding a one-day hearing on remand from the Appellate Division, the Arbitration Panel issued an Award for $25 million in punitive damages, and assessed the $2,000 in forum fees against Waddell & Reed and Hechler. In its Award, the Arbitration Panel acknowledged that Waddell & Reed and Hechler argued to the Arbitration Panel on remand "that this case remains an 'ordinary commercial dispute' meriting a modest award of punitive damages," and added language to its Award that was not in its original Award that Waddell & Reed's and Hechler's "campaign of deception" was a "horrible campaign of deception, defamation and persecution of Claimant." On January 22, 2004, Justice Stallman of the New York State Supreme Court vacated the second arbitration Award of $25 million in punitive damages and directed the parties to submit the issue to a new panel. Mr. Sawtelle then filed a motion before Justice Stallman requesting that he set a remittitur -- a maximum amount of punitive damages that the Court would approve -- which Mr. Sawtelle could then accept and avoid yet another arbitration, or which he could reject and proceed to a new arbitration hearing. While remittitur is a standard procedure in jury cases in court, and Justice Stallman recognized that remittitur would "make sense" to avoid multiple arbitrations to determine the amount of punitive damages, Justice Stallman denied Mr. Sawtelle's request in an Order on November 30, 2004. On September 22, 2005, the Appellate Division affirmed Justice Stallman's order vacating the punitive damages award and remanding to a new arbitration panel. (21 A.D.3d 820, 801 N.Y.S.2d 286 (1st Dep't 2005).) Mr. Sawtelle then appealed to the New York Court of Appeals, New York's highest court. The Court of Appeals declined to take the case at the time, on technical grounds, because it lacked jurisdiction over the appeal. On December 15, 2005, Waddell & Reed and Hechler and Mr. Sawtelle reached a settlement in which Waddell & Reed paid Mr. Sawtelle $7.9 million. In total, Mr. Sawtelle received about $10 million ($7.9 million in settlement of his punitive damages, $2,069,620.80 in compensatory damages, attorneys' fees, and interest, $30,000 in sanctions paid during the arbitration, and $21,440 refunded from the NASD pursuant to the arbitrators' first Award ordering that Waddell & Reed and the other Respondents pay all of the forum fees).

Lawyer(s): Jeffrey L. Liddle

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We commenced this arbitration on behalf of Rose Mary Finocchi after Charles Schwab Corp. ("Schwab") terminated Ms. Finocchi's employment and then filed damaging information on her Form U-5 Termination of Registration form. Following Schwab's injurious U-5 filing, Ms. Finocchi was unable to find another employment position within the securities industry. The principal claim asserted was one for intentional interference with prospective business advantage based on the U-5. We sought a complete expungement of the damaging and false information on the U-5 and damages resulting there from.Prior to and throughout the arbitration hearing, Schwab contended that it was justified in filing the damaging information on Ms. Finocchi's U-5 record, relying on an internal investigation conducted by Ms. Finocchi's former managers and conclusions reached by these managers in connection with that investigation. We established at the hearings that Schwab did not terminate Ms. Finocchi's employment due to the alleged results of the internal investigation. Instead, as the arbitration panel recognized, the firm fired Ms. Finocchi due to a conflict between Ms. Finocchi and her supervisor, which followed Ms. Finocchi's request for an accommodation of a bonus payment. On February 28, 2005, the arbitration panel found Schwab liable, among other things, for intentional interference with prospective business advantage. The Panel awarded Ms. Finocchi $106,500 in lost income for the period July 2000 to February 2005; $15,000 in emotional distress damages caused by "Schwab's careless behavior in handling Claimant's inquiries about on-the-job computer problems, appeal of management decisions and post-employment forms;" and $20,000 in arbitration costs. The Panel also fully expunged Ms. Finocchi's U-5 form, clearing her good name. The Panel also awarded $150,000 in attorneys' fees.

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Tegwen Hunt, a sales-trader with HSBC in New York, claimed that HSBC defamed her and improperly interfered with a new job opportunity following her departure from the firm. That interference led to a retraction of the job offer. Following a five-day arbitration hearing at the New York Stock Exchange, an arbitration panel awarded Ms. Hunt $770,000.00 in compensatory damages in recognition of the serious harm HSBC had caused to her career and assessed all of the arbitrators' costs, totaling $9,900.00, against HSBC.

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