FINRA Panel Orders Merrill To Pay $291K

A Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) arbitration panel in Columbus, Ohio has found Merrill Lynch and its broker, Robert Rosen, jointly and severally liable to Claimants and ordered them to pay $291,624 in compensatory damages.

The claim was filed in July 2009 and it asserted various causes of action including breach of fiduciary duty, negligence, breach of contract, fraud and the violation of Ohio Securities Laws. The amount of relief requested was $781,068, plus $1 million in punitive damages.

After the three day evidentiary hearing, the FINRA arbitration panel retired into executive session to consider all of the oral and documentary evidence presented, prior to rendering its decision. Thereafter, the panel decided that Merrill Lynch and its broker, Robert Rosen, were jointly and severally liable to Barbara Agranoff and Abby Lavelle, as Attorney in Fact for Barbara Agranoff, Individually and as Trustee and on behalf of her IRA and ordered them to pay the sum of $160,946.25 in compensatory damages; that Merrill Lynch and its broker, Robert Rosen, were jointly and severally liable to Barbara Agranoff and Abby Lavelle, as Attorney in Fact for Barbara Agranoff, Individually and as Trustee and on behalf of her IRA and ordered them to pay interest on the $160,946.25 at the rate of 3% per annum from the date of the award until it is paid in full; that Merrill Lynch and its broker, Robert Rosen, were jointly and severally liable to Joseph Agranoff, Individually and as Trustee on behalf of his IRA and ordered them to pay the sum of $130,678 in compensatory damages; that Merrill Lynch and its broker, Robert Rosen, were jointly and severally liable to Joseph Agranoff, Individually and as trustee on behalf of his IRA and ordered them to pay interest on the $130,678 at a rate of 3% per annum from the date of the award until it is paid in full. Finally, the panel split the $8,850 in forum fees for the arbitration equally between the sides, assessing each with $4,425. (FINRA# 09-04362; Barbara B. Agranoff and Abby Lavelle, as Attorney in Fact for Barbara B. Agranoff, Individually and as Trustee and on behalf of her IRA and Joseph H. Agranoff, Individually and as Trustee on behlf of his IRA v. Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith, Incorporated and Robert M. Rosen).

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