We regularly represent public investors in securities litigation and FINRA arbitration, including disputes with their stockbrokers or securities broker-dealer firms.
Recent examples and newly-filed cases:
Fitzpatricks v. AXA Advisors
Representative Cases – A FINRA arbitration panel awarded $3.2 Million to an Alleghany County egg-farming family swindled in a variable annuity and life insurance scheme promoted by a former AXA financial advisor who was recently convicted for stealing from another elderly AXA client. The Whitesville, NY, victims were represented in the arbitration proceeding by Peiffer Wolf Carr Kane & Conway. The award is believed to be the largest ever paid in upstate New York and also the largest imposed on AXA in arbitration. The elderly victims oversaw the successful Fitzpatrick Poultry Farm in Whitesville, NY, for many years before suffering millions of dollars in damages at the hands of AXA and its financial advisor, Francesco Puccio, formerly of Webster, NY. Puccio was affiliated with the AXA office in Rochester.
Thompson Natonal Properties.
Recently, attorneys Jason Kane and Joe Peiffer have filed two securities class actions on behalf of investors in two programs sponsored by Thompson National Properties (TNP), TNP 6700 Santa Monica Boulevard (also known as “TNP Kodak”) and TNP 2008 Participating Notes. In the complaints they filed on behalf of investors, attorneys Rosca and Peiffer alleged that Thompson National Properties promoted the two programs through material misrepresentations and omissions in the programs’ offering documents. The Defendants in the TNP 6700 Santa Monica Boulevard case are Thompson National Properties and several affiliates and principals, including Anthony “Tony” Thompson. The Defendant in the TNP 2008 Participating Notes case is Berthel Fisher & Co. Financial Services, the underwriter of that TNP-sponsored programe.
Cole III Real Estate Investment Trust.
Recently, attorneys Joe Peiffer and Jason Kane and their co-counsel filed a complaint on behalf of Cole III REIT investors against Cole III and certain of its affiliates, directors, and principals. The Complaint alleges the Defendants have sought to engage in an “internalization” transaction that lacks economic substance, is detrimental to Cole III REIT shareholders, and only benefits certain Cole III principals. Cole III REIT is a leading real estate investment trust that manages more than $12 billion in real estate assets across the country.
Medical Capital Notes.
The firm’s lawyers represented several investors in connection with claims for losses involving misrepresentations and omissions relating to Securities America’s sales of Medical Capital Notes. The investors have alleged that Securities America and its representatives failed to conduct adequate due diligence on the product and ignored obvious red flags about the product prior to selling it to the investors. The investment turned out to be a Ponzi scheme and the investors lost millions of dollars. On behalf of the investors, the firm defeated Securities America’s attempt to force the investors to participate in a paltry, non-opt class action settlement in lieu of their arbitration claims.
Stanford International Bank CDs.
The firm is currently representing multiple plaintiffs, who invested in financial instruments issued by the Stanford Group Companies, against the individual brokers who sold the instruments to the plaintiffs, against the brokers’ insurer, Lloyds of London, against SEI Investments, Inc., the trustee for certain assets that were held in trust for the plaintiffs, and Kroll, Inc., the company that Stanford hired to conduct investigations on its behalf. Plaintiffs’ claims primarily arise out of losses they incurred from the collapse of the Stanford International Bank and the resulting worthlessness of Stanford International Bank Certificates of Deposit (“CDs”), of which the plaintiffs held many millions of dollars worth. Specifically, the plaintiffs have alleged that the individual brokers failed to adequately investigate the safety, security and liquidity of the CDs and failed to adequately warn the plaintiffs when red flags emerged about the viability of the CDs.
Adams v. Securities America and David McFadden.
The firm’s lawyers obtained an award of $22 million, one of the largest awards ever made in an NASD (non FINRA) arbitration, on behalf of 32 Exxon Mobile retirees. This victory was covered extensively by the media including The Wall Street Journal, Reuters News Agency, The Associated Press, The Baton Rouge Advocate and others.
In re Merrill Lynch & Co., Inc. Auction Rate Securities Marketing Litigation.
The firm is representing the Louisiana Stadium and Exposition District (“LSED”) and the State of Louisiana against Financial Guaranty Insurance Corporation and Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith, Inc. in connection with claims for losses relating to approximately $240 million in auction rate securities issued by the LSED. Specifically, the LSED and the State have asserted claims for losses suffered as a result of the collapse of FGIC’s credit rating, which rendered worthless the credit enhancement and bond insurance policy for which the LSED paid approximately $13 million; Merrill Lynch’s misrepresentations and omissions in connection with the structuring and issuance of the bonds; and Merrill Lynch’s improper conduct in the auctions for the bonds. The damages at issue in the case are in the tens of millions of dollars.
JP Morgan Securities, Inc. et al. v. Louisiana Citizens Property Insurance Corp.
The firm is representing Louisiana Citizens Property Insurance Corporation (“Citizens”) against JP Morgan Securities, Inc. and Bear Stearns & Co., Inc. in connection with claims for losses relating to approximately $300 million in auction rate securities issued by Citizens. Specifically, Citizens has asserted claims for losses suffered as a result of JP Morgan’s and Bear Stearns’ misrepresentations and omissions in connection with the structuring and issuance of the bonds; and JP Morgan’s and Bear Stearns’ improper conduct in the auctions for the bonds. The damages at issue in the case are in the tens of millions of dollars.
Citigroup ASTA and MAT Funds.
The firm is representing investors in connection with claims for losses relating to Citigroup’s sale of its ASTA and MAT Funds. The funds were marketed to high net worth investors as higher yielding alternatives to conventional municipal bond portfolios with a minimal increase in risk. But in reality, the funds exposed investors to a great deal of risk, which was in no way justified by the expected returns. In early 2008, investors lost millions of dollars.
Bluebonnet Hotel Ventures, LLC v. Wachovia Bank, N.A. and Wells Fargo & Co.
The firm is currently representing Bluebonnet Hotel Ventures, LLC (“Bluebonnet”) in connection with claims for losses relating to an interest rate swap covering a $40 million bond issuance between a hotel developer corporation and Wachovia. Specifically, Bluebonnet has asserted claims for losses suffered as a result of Wachovia’s negligence, as well as error, failure of cause, and detrimental reliance. The damages in the case are in the millions of dollars.
Unger v. Amedisys, Inc.
The firm’s lawyers defended Amedisys, Inc. against a securities class action suit brought by shareholders alleging that the company willfully manipulated its computer software to artificially inflate its earnings and enhance its stock price. After the district court certified the class, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals reversed and created a new rule regarding the burden of proof for market efficiency at the class certification stage. See Unger v. Amedisys, Inc., 401 F.3d 316 (5th Cir. 2005).
Romero v. US Unwired, Inc. et al.
The firm’s lawyers defended US Unwired, Inc. (now part of Sprint PCS) against a class action suit brought by shareholders alleging securities fraud. The plaintiffs claim that the officers and directors of US Unwired failed to disclose their true opinions on the merits of plans and unfavorable trends that they presaged and, instead, misrepresented that management was “a proponent” of such plans and trends. The plaintiffs seek over $100 million in damages. Fishman Haygood obtained a dismissal of the case by way of a motion to dismiss, but that ruling was reversed, in part, by the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals. See Lormand v. US Unwired, Inc., 565 F.3d 228 (5th Cir. 2009). Since that appeal, the parties reached a settlement.
Santopietro v. OCA, Inc. et al.
The firm’s lawyers represented OCA, Inc. in a class action securities proceeding and governmental investigations arising out of allegations of accounting irregularities. The case was recently settled.
Cole v. Newpark Resources, Inc.
The firm’s lawyers defended Jim Cole, the former CEO of Newpark Resources Incorporated, in a class action securities suit and related SEC investigations arising out of alleged options back-dating and accounting fraud. The case also involved Mr. Cole’s claim under his employment agreement against Newpark and Newpark’s claims against Mr. Cole for indemnity. The case was resolved favorably to Mr. Cole by way of a confidential settlement.
Shepherd v. Hancock Securities.
The firm’s lawyers obtained a substantial arbitration award for customer of brokerage firm.