Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith Incorporated, a division of Bank of America

Continuing representation of Fortune 500 financial institution and its newly hired financial advisors in defense of claims for violation of non-compete agreements filed by competing companies.

When a Fortune 500 financial institution hires financial advisors from competitors, the advisor’s former employer often files claims in court and in arbitration against the individual advisor as well as the new employer. The new employer retains Richman Greer to represent the individual financial advisors.   Some cases resolve before suit is filed, while others involve lawsuits for injunctions and monetary damages. Mark A. Romance and Lyle E. Shapiro have worked with the financial institution’s national coordinating counsel for over 10 years to handle the matters on behalf of the individual institution’s employees.

Two example cases were active in 2015: Space Coast Credit Union filed a lawsuit in Florida state court against a former Space Coast financial advisor seeking a temporary injunction and monetary damages. Space Coast alleged that the individual improperly solicited clients before and after his resignation in violation of state law and his non-solicitation agreement, and that he improperly retained and used trade secret protected customer information. Mark A. Romance successfully defended the case at the trial level and through an interlocutory appeal that raised questions about whether the claims should be litigated in court or in arbitration. After protracted litigation, Mr. Romance helped the client avoid an injunction and settled the case on a confidential basis for significantly less than the amount of damages claimed. (2) Charles Schwab & Co. filed a lawsuit against a newly hired financial advisor in federal court seeking a temporary injunction, and simultaneously filed an arbitration action in FINRA (Financial Industry Regulatory Authority) seeking a permanent injunction and monetary damages. Charles Schwab claims that the financial advisor joined the competitor and solicited customers in violation of a non-solicitation agreement and that he improperly removed and used trade secret protected customer materials. Mark A. Romance is primarily handling the defense of the financial advisor.