Investor Advocates Call on FINRA to Immediately Stop the Expungement of Customer Complaints

The Public Investor Arbitration Bar Association (known as PIABA) is a nationwide association of attorneys who advocate for investors through litigation and arbitration and regulatory reform. In a report prepared by The PIABA Foundation, titled 2019 Study on FINRA Expungements, A Seriously Flawed Process that Should be Stopped Immediately to Protect the Integrity of the Public Record, PIABA called upon … Read More

Investment Adviser Permanently Barred over Conflicts of Interest, Failure to Disclose, and Violation of Best Execution Rules

I previously wrote about the SEC’s increased emphasis on the enforcement of an investment advisor’s obligation to provide its customers with the “best execution” of recommended securities trades. See SEC Announces Results of Share Class Selection Disclosure Initiative (March 19, 2019). A recent court decision, from the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals, illustrates the serious consequences that can result from … Read More

Raleigh Investment Adviser Stephen Condon Peters Sentenced to 40 Years In Prison for Operating a Ponzi Sheme

Stephen Condon Peters, a Raleigh investment advisor, was sentenced to 40 years in prison after being found guilty following a jury trial in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina. In sentencing Peters, he presiding judge, James C. Dever, III, noted Peters’ lengthy and systematic scheme involving theft of clients’ money, obstructing an investigation by … Read More

State Attorneys General Sue the SEC to Nullify Regulation Best Interest

On September 9, 2019, seven states and the District of Columbia sued the United States Securities and Exchange Commission to invalidate Regulation Best Interest: The Broker-Dealer Standard of Conduct (“Regulation BI”). The Attorneys General of California, New York, Connecticut, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Maine, New Mexico, and Oregon alleged in their complaint that Regulation BI: undermines critical consumer protections … Read More

HHS Office of Civil Rights Settles its First Medical Records Enforcement Case

Earlier this year, the Office for Civil Rights (“OCR”) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (“HHS”) announced that it would vigorously enforce the Federal rights of patients to receive their medical records promptly and without being overcharged. On September 6, 2019, the OCR entered into a settlement agreement with Bayfront Health-St. Petersburg to resolve an enforcement action … Read More

Fourth Circuit Slaps Reliance Standard in ERISA Disability Case

Disability Insurance Benefits

Reliance Standard never should have terminated Fredrick Smith’s disability benefits. But appealing the District Court’s decision in favor of Mr. Smith was just plain dumb. Good news for claimants, the Fourth Circuit’s opinion in Smith v. Reliance Standard Life Insurance Company, ___ Fed.Appx. ___, 2019 WL 2539289 (June 20, 2019), contains a trove of pro-claimant rulings that can be cited … Read More

The North Carolina Supreme Court’s Piazza v. Kirkbride Decision Fails to Resolve Important Issues under State Securities Act

On May 10, 2019, the North Carolina Supreme Court issued its opinion in Piazza v. Kirkbride. See Piazza v. Kirkbride, 827 S.E.2d 479 (2019). The Court declined to resolve important issues under the North Carolina Securities Act, instead ruling that defendant Gregory Brannon had failed to properly preserve his challenge to the trial court’s jury instructions. In the trial court … Read More

The Administrative Exemption to the Fair Labor Standards Act

The Administrative Exemption to the Fair Labor Standards Act The Fair Labor Standards Act provides that “no employer shall employ any employee any of his employees . . .  for a workweek longer than forty hours unless such employee receives compensation for his employment in excess of the hours above specified at a rate not less than one and one-half … Read More

Fourth Circuit Clarifies that an Employer/Plan Administrator/Named Fiduciary is Indeed an ERISA Fiduciary

Justice Word Engraved

Fourth Circuit Clarifies that an Employer/Plan Administrator/Named Fiduciary is Indeed an ERISA Fiduciary In the case of Dawson-Murdock v. National Consulting Group, Inc., an employer argued that it was not an ERISA fiduciary of its own group life insurance plan, even though the employer was designated as the “plan administrator” and “named fiduciary” in the plan documents. The United States … Read More