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Countersue a client?

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Mar 13, 2009 8:40 pm

Anyone have experience with countersuing a client or the law firm that filed an arbitration?

Example: clients files suit saying you did some that is later proven to be a false accusation. If we can clear our name, can we sue for defamation? Does a lawyer have theobligation to verify a clients claims before filing a suit?

Mar 13, 2009 9:29 pm

How is the lawyer going to verify it?  Asking the broker if it is true?

Mar 14, 2009 1:08 am

without getting too much into it, I’m talking about things they could have easily verified but the attorney failed to. Like making claims about trading activity that never actually happened, failing to accurately state time frames about when an account was opened. Things like that that have a clear paper trail.

Mar 14, 2009 1:29 pm

You could sue, you may win.  I doubt you collect.

Mar 14, 2009 2:26 pm

If you sue an ex-client, might that have an impact on your ability to attract future clients?

Mar 14, 2009 5:26 pm

i was thinking more about suing the hack lawfirm that is filing the claim. it is ironic that a firm can make claims for damages based on an alleged lack of due diligence when in reality their complete lack of any attempt to collect supporting documents could damage an FAs reputation. They just took the clients word on simple things that could be proven like when an FA was the broker of record, client’s previous investment experience. It’s one thing for a client to make something up like, “he never told me about risk” but when a client says they never invested before they met the FA but  the account was funded by a TOA of equity funds from another firm, that is willful neglect to file a claim without verifying such a well documented and  critical fact. 

  It's getting ugly out there, make sure you cover yourself. even your best clients are probably hearing whispers about suing their advisors.  
Mar 15, 2009 2:49 am

In this non-lawyer’s non-expert opinion, it would at least be worth asking an attorney about, assuming you can provide some evidence that your reputation was damaged as a result of those misstatements.  At the same time, I’m not sure if you’d get anywhere if you won the arbitration and your name was cleared.

Mar 17, 2009 12:03 am

Bill, thanks for the detailed and helpful response. I agree it’s an uphill battle and the public is not very sympathetic to those of us in the industry at the moment. I hope this will all blow over with the response from my B/D indicating that the claims are so impossibly wrong.