On the Pulse…Securities and Investment Professional Liability Practice Group

By Andrew W. Davitt, Esq.*

The Marshall Dennehey Securities and Investment Professional Liability Practice Group is devoted to handling virtually all litigation-related issues facing securities and investment professionals. This group services a broad client base in representing the interests of FINRA member broker dealers, Registered Representatives, certified financial planners (CFP), Registered Investment Advisors (RIA), insurance agents and insurance brokers. Our clients range from small “mom-and-pop” shops that service a small local segment of public customers to large institutional clients with international operations and billions of dollars in assets under management. In addition to professional liability matters in state and federal court, we defend brokers and broker dealers before self-regulatory organizations (SRO) such as FINRA, state agencies (such as state insurance and securities divisions) and before the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). We have also defended clients’ interests on multiple occasions in adversary actions brought by bankruptcy trustees instituted in state and federal bankruptcy courts. We handle securities arbitration claims before FINRA, AAA and other SROs. On a regular basis we are called upon by our clients to conduct investigations and seminars on timely business and investment topics—usually topics of risk management and best practices. The group also counsels and represents brokers and firms on employment issues and litigation.

The ever-expanding group has played a pivotal role in the overall expansion of the Professional Liability Department of Marshall Dennehey over the last two decades. The group’s humble roots trace back to 1992, when Andy Davitt joined Marshall Dennehey. With Andy’s wealth of knowledge, cultivated from his prior experience as an insurance agent, real estate agent and registered representative with both a New York Stock Exchange member investment firm as well as an independent FINRA member broker dealer, Marshall Dennehey was able to offer services to meet client demand in this continually growing practice area. It became clear that the specialized needs of our clients would be best served by a dedicated practice group. Thus, the Securities and Investment Professional Liability Practice Group was formed with Andy as its chair, a position which he continues to hold today. Over the years, the group has blossomed from a two-person practice to its current status of ten dedicated, full-time lawyers, in addition to several lawyers who dedicate part of their practice to serving the needs of our securities, investment and insurance professional clients. Our ranks currently include former registered representatives, former in-house counsel at FINRA, member broker dealers and a former insurance company professional liability specialist.

With the group’s expansive legal background, we have successfully handled thousands of civil matters ranging from the basic to the most complex, resulting in many defense verdicts, dismissals or favorable settlements in both judicial and non-judicial forums. Our extensive experience and understanding of the financial services industry and markets, as well as our familiarity with investment and insurance products, enables us to efficiently and effectively handle matters involving these issues. Moreover, the group’s broad range of experience and depth of knowledge allows us to effectively communicate with our clients, better assess their needs and efficiently manage ongoing litigation.          

The group has cumulatively tried to conclusion more than 100 cases, including jury trials, bench trials and arbitrations. We have argued numerous federal and state court injunctive hearings involving the misappropriation of trade secrets, breach of non-solicitation and non-compete contracts of individual registered representatives, as well as other issues. We have successfully defended class actions involving diverse and complicated issues, as well as claims involving a wide spectrum of investments. We also handle litigation involving complex estate planning tools and Internal Revenue Code qualified welfare benefit plans.

The Securities and Investment Professional Liability Practice Group has grown significantly since its inception. We are uniquely qualified to provide strategic and business counsel on the entire range of issues facing securities and investment professionals. Clients, especially those with large self-insured retentions, have recognized that their interests are best served by retaining experienced counsel who are sensitive to the more subtle aspects of their litigation and business needs.

*Andy and Joel work in our Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, office. Andy can be reached at 215.575.2679 or awdavitt@mdwcg.com

Defense Digest, Vol. 19, No. 4, December 2013

Defense Digest is prepared by Marshall Dennehey Warner Coleman & Goggin to provide information on recent legal developments of interest to our readers. This publication is not intended to provide legal advice for a specific situation or to create an attorney-client relationship. Copyright © 2013 Marshall Dennehey Warner Coleman & Goggin, all rights reserved. This article may not be reprinted without the express written permission of our firm.