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Gary Cunningham v. ABN AMRO Securities, Inc. - 1/18/2006

Award Amount- $772,000.00

Case Summary: On January 18, 2006, a panel of three arbitrators from the New York Stock Exchange awarded $772,000 in compensatory damages to Gary Cunningham, a former sales trader at ABN AMRO Securities, Inc. Mr. Cunningham, the co-head of the desk, sued ABN for breach of contract and for violating its Key Employee Equity Programme (KEEP), pursuant to which ABN pays its employees deferred compensation. Mr. Cunningham worked on ABN's European Equities desk in New York City from April 1999 through April 2002. In March 2002, Mr. Cunningham proposed to ABN that in exchange for his unvested deferred compensation, he would help transition the bulk of his accounts to ABN's sales traders based in London. The firm agreed, and Mr. Cunningham successfully transitioned his accounts. Days later, ABN reneged, informing Mr. Cunningham that it would forfeit his unvested deferred compensation if he joined a competitor. Shortly thereafter, ABN terminated Mr. Cunningham's employment without cause because he was redundant. ABN argued that it was entitled to forfeit Mr. Cunningham's deferred compensation because he joined a competitor, notwithstanding the terms of its KEEP. ABN argued further that Mr. Cunningham actually resigned voluntarily, although the evidence presented at the eight-day hearing revealed otherwise. The panel, by awarding Mr. Cunningham $772,000, determined that ABN breached its contract with Mr. Cunningham and/or acted in violation of the terms of its KEEP when it forfeited Mr. Cunningham's deferred compensation. Liddle & Robinson, L.L.P. served as lead trial counsel for Mr. Cunningham.

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