Coutant v. Morgan Stanley Dean Witter, et. al. ⇒ $1.01 million

The Law Offices of Cary S. Lapidus obtained an arbitration award of $1.01 million on behalf of clients who alleged that their securities brokerage firm failed to diversity their account, placed them in unsuitable investments and misrepresented the risks of options trading.

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“Cary Lapidus is probably the most well prepared attorney with whom I have ever dealt. He has excellent judgment and understanding of the law. Most important of all, he is highly ethical and those who deal with him know that his word is his bond.“
Paul Dubow
Opposing Counsel & Mediator in Six Cases


In The News

Trailblazing awards and settlements tend to spark commentary from the media and securities arbitration and litigation experts. As Cary S. Lapidus is mentioned or quoted in the media, those pieces are listed here.

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WRONGFUL DISMISSAL OF PRIVATE BANKER COSTS J.P. MORGAN CHASE $350K
Margarida Correia
Bank Investment Consultant
A FINRA arbitration panel has ordered J.P. Morgan Securities to fork over $350,000 to compensate a former private banker for wrongfully terminating her from her job and damaging her reputation.
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J.P. MORGAN TO PAY $350,000 IN DEFAMATION CLAIM
Diana Britton
Wealth Management

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SUIT ALLEGES ELDER FINANCIAL ABUSE BY FORMER CHASE BANK MANAGER
Kathleen Pender
San Francisco Chronicle
A lawsuit filed last week claims that a former manager of Chase Bank’s Noe Valley branch befriended an elderly woman and persuaded her and her husband to draw down two home equity lines of credit in 2009 and lend the money to him.
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FORMER WELLS FARGO BROKER BANNED FROM INDUSTRY FOR LIFE
Kathleen Pender
San Francisco Chronicle
A longtime Bay Area broker who resigned from Wells Fargo Advisors in January after it launched an investigation into suspicious activity in a customer account has been barred from the brokerage industry for life.
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COMPULSORY ARBITRATION IS A BITCH
Scott Graham
The Recorder
We associate that sentiment with plaintiffs and their counsel. But when corporate defendants get walloped with a big, virtually unreviewable judgment, their screams of pain can be just as loud — and futile.
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RULING: INVESTMENT EVEN TOO COMPLEX FOR BANK CEO
Arden Dale And Douglas Miller
Wall Street Journal
A financial industry arbitration panel in San Francisco has ruled that a former top Deutsche Bank executive is entitled to more than $870,000 for losses he sustained from investing in a family of complex collateralized bond obligations.
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BERNARD MADOFF CASE: BROKER MUST REPAY S.F. COUPLE
A Madoff-related Case
Andrew S. Ross
San Francisco Chronicle
A happier holiday season than perhaps expected for Lenore and Charles Bleadon.
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SAN FRANCISCO FIRM ORDERED TO PAY $750,000
A Madoff-related Case
Nathan Becker
Wall Street Journal
A San Francisco financial-services firm has been ordered to pay a family trust $750,000 after recommending it invest in a fund that indirectly funneled money to imprisoned swindler Bernard Madoff.
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CRISIS-ERA MUNI FUNDS HAUNT WALL STREET BROKERAGES
Randall Smith
Wall Street Journal
Two years after the credit-market meltdown hit a once-booming sector of the municipal-bond market, Wall Street brokerage firms are being ordered to pay millions to investors who lost big on what some thought were low-risk investments.
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STANFORD PROFESSOR STUNG BY FUND WINS $2.2 MILLION
Bloomberg Businessweek
A First Republic Bank unit was ordered to pay a retired Stanford University professor and his wife $2.18 million after arbitrators found the firm gave them only a 'fleeting and slapdash' explanation of a municipal bond fund that imploded during the credit crisis in 2008.
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INVESTORS GET $2.2M IN BIGGEST FUND ARBITRATION AWARD
Kathy Shwiff
Dow Jones Newswires
A couple of investors were awarded $2.2 million, which is the largest amount ever in an arbitration case over losses in a leveraged municipal arbitrage bond fund.
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PLEASANTON COUPLE WIN $1 MILLION AWARD AGAINST MORGAN STANLEY AND A BROKER IN A STOCK OPTIONS CASE
George Avalos
Contra Costa Times
Michael Coutant and his wife, Tanis, once thought they were worth at least $10 million, thanks to their stock options from a Silicon Valley high flyer. Instead, they lost their Union City residence and Gold Country vacation home.
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MORGAN STANLEY DEAN WITTER TO PAY $1.7 MILLION AWARD FOR IMPROPER INVESTMENT
Deborah Lohse
San Jose Mercury News
Arbitrators ordered Morgan Stanley Dean Witter to pay $1.7 million to a former San Francisco employee of America Online to resolve her complaint that her broker cost her millions of dollars by improperly investing her money in risky securities.
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CALIFORNIA FIGHTS NYSE, NASD ON NEW ARBITRATOR DISCLOSURES
Wall Street Journal
At the height of the tech boom, Joe and Janet Janssens say they took the advice of their Salomon Smith Barney broker and plowed much of their life savings, including money earmarked for their dream home, into technology stocks.
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OUT OF OPTIONS
High-tech Companies And Their Investment Bankers Have A Cozy Symbiotic Relationship Regarding Stock Options.
Neil Weinberg
Forbes
Two years ago Darryl Lewis was a Microsoft millionaire. Now he is a Microsoft pauper. For this he blames Merrill Lynch.
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INVESTOR BITES BROKER: NASD RESTORES SHARES LOST IN MARGIN CALL
David Dietz
TheStreet.com
When the Nasdaq tumbled in April, the press was full of reports about hapless investors who had bought on margin and were unceremoniously sold out of their positions by their brokers when the value of their holdings fell. Some individual investors complained that they had no chance to avoid a sale by sending in more money or perhaps by choosing to sell something else.
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SEE YOU IN MARKET COURT
You Can't Sue An Unscrupulous Broker, But You Can Get Even
Linda Keslar
Individual Investor
In 1992 Helen Anderson entrusted $700,000 to a stockbroker, then watched in horror as her portfolio lost $55,000 over three years. Her broker assured her that things would turn around, but Anderson (a pseudonym) didn't buy it. She contacted the couple who had recommended him, and was amazed to hear that their losses were running into six figures. Convinced it was more than that luck, Anderson and her friend sought help.
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SEEKING JUSTICE
Jane Bryant Quinn
Newsweek
Every solution creates a new problem that the solvers hadn't foreseen. Such is the story of securities arbitration. It began as a quicker way than a lawsuit for nailing stockbrokers who lie. But what used to be an informal process is turning into juridical hell.
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LEGAL LESSONS
Herb Greenberg
San Francisco Chronicle
It may not always pay to fight city hall, but if you're among the thousands of investors who lost millions by investing in several Prudential Securities limited partnerships back in the 1980s, it may have paid to fight Prudential. Most investors have merely accepted whatever Prudential is willing to pay as a settlement.
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PRUDENTIAL MAY FACE NEW ROUND OF LAWSUITS
Kurt Eichewald
New York Times
After complaining that their brokers misled them into joining a criticized class action settlement, some former clients of Prudential Securities who lost millions in a real estate investment may be getting another day in court. But the litigation this time would focus not on securities trades, but rather on a more unusual contention: that some Prudential brokers were practicing law without a license.
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FROM THE MAILBAG: HOW TO COMPLAIN ABOUT YOUR BROKER
Herb Greenberg
San Francisco Chronicle
Stephen S., of Santa Rosa, writes: 'Yesterday I found out that my 77- year-old mother entrusted the greater part of her life savings -- all of $23,000 -- to a broker in late 1992 with instructions to purchase securities that would provide monthly dividend payments without great risk to principal. She knows nothing about investing. Her broker told her that she would gain or lose no more than $2,000 on her principal, and that she would receive monthly dividend checks that would fluctuate.
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EAGLE ON THE STREET
Based On The Pulitzer Prize-Winning Account Of The SEC's Battle With Wall Street
David A. Vise, Steve Coll
"Be reasonable," Fedders told him over the telephone, but the words only seemed to make Bobby Lawyer angrier. There is no question but that Merrill Lynch and Company deserves to be publicly charged with fraud, Lawyer kept saying, his voice rising each time he had to argue the point again.
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ARROW MURDER CASE AGENT OWES $204,886
Daily Journal
In a footnote to the bizarre murder-for-hire charges against sports agent Michael Blatt, a state appeals court has affirmed a $204,886 arbitration award on behalf of one of Blatt's alleged targets, former professional football player John Farley.
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LRS ATTORNEY CARRIES THE BALL
The Recorder
Lawyer Referral Service Committee Chair Roger Meredith accepted a check for $29,360.00 from panel attorney Cary Lapidus last month at last month's LRS Committee meeting. This amount represents the forwarding fee for a case referred to Mr. Lapidus on the Business Law Panel.
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