WealthManagement Magazine

Rep Gets Nothing in Smokin Gun Case

A three-person arbitration panel dismissed all claims in the Thomas Sheridan OKeefe v. Piper Jaffray Cos. case.In a June decision, the panel also split the hearing costs--$16,950 was assessed against both parties.OKeefe, a former rep at the firm, claimed he was wrongfully terminated in 1991 and defamed.The case began in 1996, ran for more than two years and went through two changes of panel chairpersons--one

A three-person arbitration panel dismissed all claims in the Thomas Sheridan OKeefe v. Piper Jaffray Cos. case.

In a June decision, the panel also split the hearing costs--$16,950 was assessed against both parties.

OKeefe, a former rep at the firm, claimed he was wrongfully terminated in 1991 and defamed.

The case began in 1996, ran for more than two years and went through two changes of panel chairpersons--one of whom recused himself during the hearings after an undisclosed conflict with a Piper witness was uncovered during testimony. Another panelist was dismissed a week prior to the first hearing after Pipers outside counsel disclosed that the panelist was interviewing with the firm for a job (see Sept. 97 RR, Page 36).

The case remained heated as OKeefes attorney, Jeffrey Liddle of Liddle & Robinson in New York, in hearings last October claimed he discovered a smoking gun document that proved OKeefe was forced out of the firm, rather than leavi ng voluntarily as Piper Jaffray maintained (see April 98 RR, Page 46). The document in question, an internal memo by Pipers then associate general counsel AnnDrea Benson, was uncovered after the third panel chair ordered production of documents Liddle claimed should have been produced under previous discovery orders.

In earlier sessions, OKeefe and Rod Krass, the brokers attorney at the time of his alleged termination, testified that Benson, now the firms general counsel, threatened OKeefe with a dirty U-5 if he didnt go quietly.

Both sides asked the panel for sanctions relating to discovery abuse. The panel denied both requests, and made no enforcement referrals.

In 1996, OKeefe formed the National Association of Investment Professionals (NAIP). RRs editor in chief serves on the NAIP board.

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