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FINRA Panel Orders Expungement of False, Defamatory Customer Allegations

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Apr 12, 2010 11:21 am
                  Expungement of Defamatory, False Customer AllegationsWritten: April 9, 2010

In the Matter of the Arbitration Between Darren Layne Meyer, Claimant, versus Ameriprise Financial Services, Inc., Respondent (FINRA 08-4008, March 26, 2010), Claimant Meyer alleged that Respondent Ameriprise placed defamatory statements on his Amended Form U5 dated October 3, 2007,and also engaged in acts of defamation and tortious interference with prospective economic advantage.  Among other relief, Claimant sought at least $50,000 in compensatory damages, punitive damages, attorneys’ fees, and an expungement of certain offending statements from his Form U5. Respondent Ameriprise generally denied the allegations and asserted various affirmative defenses. 


The Panel concluded that:

   the allegations of discretionary trading were false and defamatory;     the customer complaint allegations were reported in a way that was meant to defame the Claimant; and    it was reasonable and appropriate to order the expungement of all of the allegations concerning the allegedly unauthorized risky investments and the alleged discretionary trading, since both allegations were defamatory and the alleged discretionary trading was false.

The Panel further found that the aforementioned customer complaint was dismissed by Respondent as groundless but was nevertheless reported by Respondent in a misleading and defamatory manner.