An appeals court has upheld an $11 million defamation award issued to an investment manager who was terminated by UBS Financial Services three years ago, according to FinancialAdvisor.
The Appellate Court of Illinois affirmed a circuit court ruling in the case of Mark Munizzi, a senior compliance officer who was discharged by UBS in April 2018 following losses of over $3 million in two UBS accounts.
Munizzi said he was defamed in the Uniform Termination Notice that was submitted by UBS to the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority. In the ‘Reason for Termination’ section the notice said that he had failed to adequately supervise employees regarding the risks of an uncovered options strategy, and had given varied responses during the review.
Because the summary of the termination notice appeared in his BrokerCheck report, Munizzi said it impaired his ability to find other employment. He filed a complaint with FINRA and an arbitration panel ruled in his favor, finding that the statements by UBS had been false.
UBS was held liable for over $3 million in compensatory damages, plus interest on the portion representing Munizzi’s severance pay; $7.5 million in punitive damages; nearly $500,000 in attorneys’ fees and $25,000 in costs.
UBS had asked the Appellate Court to vacate or modify the award, claiming it violated Illinois public policy. But the court confirmed the FINRA panel’s decision and stated, “There is no public policy favoring false or defamatory disclosures by employers.”
At Lewitas Hyman, our firm has considerable experience with FINRA’s procedures for expunging false, defamatory and erroneous disclosures from a registered representative’s record. This experience includes seeking expungement in existing FINRA customer and employment arbitrations, as well as filing separate FINRA arbitrations for the sole purpose of seeking expungement. If you have any concerns about problematic disclosures on your CRD record or those that are viewable on FINRA’s BrokerCheck portal, contact our Chicago securities professionals expungement attorneys at (312) 291-4600 or through our online contact form for a free consultation.