Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Former Morgan Stanley Branch Manager Awarded $1 Million in Compensatory Damages in a FINRA New Years Day Award.

In 2011, Claimant Gregory Carl Torretta (“Torretta”) filed a claim with FINRA against Respondent Morgan Stanley Smith Barney (“Morgan Stanley”) for violations of FINRA rules, breach of employment contract, and wrongful termination.

Torretta was a former branch manager at Morgan Stanley at a two-branch complex in Garden City, New York. His termination allegedly stemmed from his oversight of another manager who was underperforming in his duties. The unidentified manager complained to Torretta about the oversight process in an email that was copied to Torretta’s boss. The email also implied that Torretta had discussions about leaving Morgan Stanley and suggested that Torretta encouraged the manager to follow him.

Despite denying the allegations of having those discussions with the manager, Torretta was given the choice to voluntarily resign or be terminated. Torretta chose to voluntarily resign. The key issue in the case was Morgan Stanley’s own procedures for handling such matters which Torretta alleged were not followed.

In Torretta’s statement of claim, he requested compensatory damages in the amount of $4.5 million. At the close of the hearing, Torretta requested compensatory damages ranging from $8 million to $9 million.

The hearing took place in New York City in front of Chairperson Marguerite Filson, Public Arbitrator Paul Blederman, and Non-public Arbitrator Joel Morton Newman. On January 1, 2013, the panel awarded Torretta $1 million in compensatory damages. In customary fashion, the panel did not explain the award.

If you believe you have been wrongfully terminated from a FINRA Member Firm, please contact the experienced attorneys at Cosgrove Law Group, LLC.

For a copy of the opinion, see FINRA Cause No. 11-01914.

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