Attempt to Vacate Award Fails - Raymond James Has to Pay $1.8M
In May 2011, a Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) arbitration panel in Dallas, Texas ruled in favor of an elderly Claimant and ordered Raymond James Financial Services Incorporated to pay Hurshel Tyler and his deceased wife nearly $1.5 million in compensatory damages, plus interest on the sum of $1,129,796 at the rate of 5% per annum from December 1, 2006 until the service of the award on May 10, 2011. Prior to the evidentiary hearing, the Claimant settled with Respondent, LPL Financial Corporation, and they did not participate in the hearing. (FINRA# 10-02162; Hurshel Tyler and His Wife Mildred Tyler, By and Through Her Power of Attorney Bill Tyler v. Raymond James Financial Services Incorporated and LPL Financial Corporation).
Raymond James filed an appeal in the 289th Judicial District Court in Dallas following the award and asking the court to set aside or vacate the arbitration award. Judge Emily Tobolowsky not only confirmed the arbitration award but also denied Raymond James' request that the payment of the award be vacated.
The case revolved around variable life insurance and variable annuities which they were sold by their Raymond James broker, after having previously had their $3.5 million invested in bond funds. The argument by Raymond James was that the elderly couple ought to have returned the annuities if they were unhappy with them, in addition to the fact that the couple had made some $900,000 on the investment while the investments were held at the firm, among other things. The firm continually asserted that the losses sustained by the elderly Claimant and his deceased wife occurred after the investments were transferred to LPL Financial, when the broker move there. An argument that the award of $250,000 in attorneys' fees should be vacated because the laws of the firm's home state, Florida, did not allow for such recovery was shot down because Raymond James made no objection about the request for the fees during the arbitration.
Robert Rudnicki, Vice President and Director of Litigation at Raymond James, said that "the panel erroneously held Raymond James responsible for those losses" and that "the award in this matter is a miscarriage of justice." Nevertheless, he continued by saying that the firm had made the decision to put the matter behind them and move on. Finally, 87 year old Hurshel Tyler is going to get his $1.8 million in damages awarded back in May 2011.