Securities Law Prof Blog

Editor: Eric C. Chaffee
Univ. of Toledo College of Law

Monday, October 22, 2007

A $6 Million Verdict Against Merrill Lynch in Customer Dispute

A Florida jury found that a Merrill Lynch broker took advantage of the late philanthropist George Rothman (who died in 2004 at the age of 86) and his wife and awarded $6 million in damages.  The jury will decide whether to award punitive damages.  The allegations are representative of the kind of "senior investor" case we can expect to see more of: the broker took advantage of the deteriorating mental condition of the couple and placed them in high-commission variable annuities, while assuring them they were in low-load funds.  There is no explanation why this case was in court instead of in arbitration.  A Merrill Lynch spokesperson called the verdict "astonishing," because the couple were wealthy sophisticated investors who lost no money on the investment.  NYTimes, Jury Finds Merrill Lynch Bilked Couple.

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