A National Association of Securities Dealers (NASD) arbitration panel found liable and ordered Merrill Lynch (NYSE: MER – news) to pay Patricia McNamara a total of $192,000 for the company’s breach of fiduciary duty and failure to supervise registered representative Robert Morgart in its Sante Fe, New Mexico office.
In her claim, Patricia McNamara, a 78 year widow stated that she needed income from her account to pay for living expenses and to support two mentally disabled children. At the hearing Patricia McNamara, proved that Merrill Lynch had recommended securities in technology and Internet related companies that were unsuitable based on her financial needs and station in life.
Some of the securities purchased by Merrill Lynch including CMGI (Nasdaq: CMGI – news), Exodus Communications (Nasdaq: EXDS – news), InfoSpace, Inc. (Nasdaq: INSP – news) and Inktomi (Nasdaq: INKT – news) have come under scrutiny following New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer’s investigation of Merrill Lynch and Internet analyst Henry Blodget.
Patricia McNamara was represented by Aidikoff & Uhl, a Beverly Hills and Indian Wells, California law firm that represents customers in securities arbitrations. According to Philip Aidikoff, who argued the case at the hearing: “Merrill Lynch had no business selling Mrs. McNamara high risk technology and Internet securities. Fortunately, investors like Mrs. McNamara can turn to arbitration to resolve such disputes.” “In making this award, the NASD panel sent a message of accountability to Merrill Lynch” according to Mr. Aidikoff. “When firms violate the rules of the industry they will be held responsible.”
Aidikoff & Uhl represents customers of Merrill Lynch and other brokerage firms who have money due to wrongful conduct of the brokerage firms including misleading analyst recommendations.