Starr Gern Wins $550,000 Award in FINRA Employment Arbitration.

July 2015

Partner Nicholas Stevens and Associate Lisa Besson Geraghty were awarded $550,000 for commissions and legal fees on behalf of a former investment banker with BB&T Securities after an arbitration hearing before the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA).

In a FINRA arbitration, James Swan, a former investment banker for BB&T Securities, LLC (BB&T), was awarded a $200,000 commission, as well as $355,048.44 in attorneys’ fees, from the bank. BB&T refused to pay Mr. Swan his earned commission, asserting that the contested amount was a discretionary bonus withheld from Mr. Swan because he voluntarily left his employment prior to the bonus payment. BB&T also filed a counterclaim, asserting that Mr. Swan was able to take to his new firm and close one of his deals as a result of taking BB&T’s laptop and confidential information. BB&T relied on the testimony of a forensic computer expert and an industry employment law expert. In a June 22, 2015 Award, the FINRA Panel found that Mr. Swan was paid on a commission basis and had earned the commission prior to his separation from BB&T. The panel rejected BB&T’s defenses and its counterclaims against Mr. Swan. BB&T paid the Award in late July. 

**Results may vary depending on your particular facts and legal circumstances**