District Court Confirms Merrill Lynch Arbitration Award in Investor Dispute

Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith, Inc. and a number of its workers have won an arbitration dispute filed by a couple that invested in a money market mutual fund. In U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, Judge George Daniels confirmed the award.

Konstantinos Karetsos and Greta Rothstein began their New York Stock Exchange arbitration in February 2006. The married couple accused Merrill Lynch and several of its employees of alleged deceit, fraud, conspiracy, deceptive practices, misrepresentation, obstruction of justice, material omissions, unauthorized transactions, unsuitable investments, gross negligence, breach of fiduciary duty, and account management related to their money market fund purchase.

Arbitration proceedings took place over a six-day period. On the 4th day, the arbitration panel dismissed claims against three Merrill Lynch employees with prejudice. At the end of the proceedings, more claims against Merrill Lynch and a fourth employee were dismissed with prejudice.

The arbitration panel also found that claims against one Merrill Lynch employee were obviously erroneous and that the couple had filed claims against another employee who did not take part in the “alleged investment-related sales practice violations.”

According to the district court, the opposition that was noted in the couple’s pro se pleadings appeared to be based on many of the arguments they made in arbitration. Judge Daniels also said that the couple’s “vague and conclusory” terms” impugned the arbitration panel’s “integrity and neutrality.”

Commenting on Merrill Lynch’s arbitration award, Securities Arbitration Attorney William Shepherd said, “Investors who do not hire a lawyer, or hire one without experience in securities arbitration, fare very poorly in claims against brokerage firms. While securities arbitration has less formalities than court cases, investors simply cannot alone understand how to properly present their claims to the arbitrators.”

Related Web Resources:

Rothstein et al v. Fung et al, Justia
Change in Arbitration Panels Will Allow Investors Only, NY Times, July 25, 2008
To schedule your free consultation with Stockbroker Fraud Attorney Shepherd, contact Shepherd Smtih Edwards and Kantas LLP today.