With the passage of sweeping financial reform in 2010, Congressional lawmakers recognized the disadvantage investors suffer when they are forced by Wall Street brokerage firms into mandatory arbitration pursuant to pre-dispute arbitration agreements contained within account opening documents signed by clients. Vernon Litigation Group attorneys have been on the forefront of the fight for investors’ rights to a fairer playing field for more than a decade.
In a Florida Supreme Court case that was watched closely by investor advocates, the attorneys at Vernon Litigation Group won a critical legal battle, allowing an investor alleging stockbroker abuse to choose the courtroom rather than a financial industry arbitration panel to settle a dispute.
The unanimous decision by the high court lowered the threshold that allowed investors to sidestep arbitration and take their disputes to court if they so choose. Having a choice is what’s key for investors. And Vernon Litigation Group is experienced at representing clients both in arbitration before the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) and in court.
Brokerage firms usually favor FINRA arbitration because they know it is, on average, a more favorable forum for the securities industry to resolve disputes before industry experts than in a courtroom. Arbitration also limits the exchange of information between litigants known as discovery, and it often keeps the outcome out of the public eye.
The case brought by Vernon Litigation Group on behalf of investor Steven Saldukas represented a critical win for all investors harmed by unscrupulous stockbrokers and brokerage firms. Saldukas claimed that his Raymond James Financial Services Inc. advisor, Rick VandenBerg, negligently put Saldukas’s nest egg into risky technology stocks, causing significant losses when the stocks tumbled. Chris Vernon, founder of Vernon Litigation Group, successfully argued that Raymond James could not initially refuse to go to arbitration in order to try to gain a strategic advantage, then later try to force Saldukas into arbitration after an unfavorable pretrial ruling in court.
Raymond James fought bitterly to overturn the original ruling by a Florida Circuit judge, taking the case to the 2nd District Court of Appeal, where it was affirmed, and finally to the Florida Supreme Court, which also upheld the original decision.
Vernon Litigation Group attorneys use their decades of experience to assist clients with critical cost-benefit analysis of available forums for each client to pursue their particular claims. Vernon Litigation Group attorneys have both the litigation and arbitration experience to advocate for investors rights in the available forum that it believes is most likely to benefit the investor.
The attorneys at Vernon Litigation Group represent investors who are victims of stock fraud and stock losses due to broker fraud and brokerage firm fraud and misconduct. Vernon Litigation Group securities attorneys are experienced in securities arbitration and business litigation and assist clients in recovering losses caused by all manner of financial fraud and negligence.
Vernon Litigation Group
Christopher T. Vernon, attorney at law
Susan R. Healy, attorney at law
Toll Free: (877) 649-5394