For over 30 years, we have successfully defended clients against accusations of securities fraud and successfully pursued claims by defrauded investors. Our attorneys understand the intricacies of the federal and state laws and regulations, exchange regulations, and regulations of the industry organizations. We approach every case with years of experience and the most up-to-date information.
Briol served as lead trial counsel for a plaintiff who brought securities fraud claims against the notorious New York-based pump and dump firm Stratton Oakmont, which was represented by an experienced New York securities lawyer. (Stratton Oakmont was the firm fictionalized in Martin Scorsese’s film The Wolf of Wall Street.) The plaintiff was a Minnesota resident in the construction business. Despite previous SEC sanctions on the firm, Stratton Oakmont brokers exercised their “telephone terrorism” techniques on the plaintiff and lured him into opening an account. This gave Stratton Oakmont the opportunity to load him up with speculative in-house stocks which Stratton Oakmont traded without authorization for the sole benefit of Stratton Oakmont. In eight months, Stratton Oakmont bought and sold $16,000,000 in securities on the plaintiff’s account and racked up $1.2 million in losses. Briol alleged state and federal securities violations, negligence, and breach of fiduciary duty and sought $1.2 million in compensatory damages plus punitive damages.
The arbitration demand was filed September 16, 1994. On November 13, 1995, the panel issued a $1.5 million award in favor of Briol’s client. Briol then moved the U.S. District Court for the District of Minnesota to confirm the award, while Stratton Oakmont sought to vacate the award. Stratton Oakmont argued, among other things, that one arbitrator was biased because he was a state legislator, and the plaintiff was a Minnesota citizen, and that one day of transcripts was missing because of a tape recorder malfunction. The federal judge rejected Stratton Oakmont’s arguments. The award was confirmed in a precedent-setting opinion issued on July 8, 1998. Stratton Oakmont, however, did not voluntarily pay the award within the required 30 days, instead forcing the plaintiff to take extraordinary measures. First, the judgment was docketed in Nassau County, Long Island, resulting in a judgment lien attaching to property Stratton Oakmont was preparing to sell. To obtain relief from the lien, Stratton Oakmont agreed to pay the award in three installments beginning in October 1996. Stratton Oakmont then breached that agreement, despite extensions, so the plaintiff obtained writs of execution in Nassau County and Los Angeles County. Working in conjunction with the Nassau County sheriff’s office, Briol arranged for three semis to pull up to Stratton Oakmont’s Lake Success, Long Island offices on a Saturday morning, where movers began loading up Stratton Oakmont’s furniture, computers, and other office equipment for a sheriff’s sale. That got Stratton Oakmont’s attention and it agreed to create an account for the plaintiff’s benefit with JB Oxford in Los Angeles to satisfy the award. Meanwhile the Los Angeles County sheriff levied on Stratton Oakmont’s proprietary trading account at JB Oxford in Los Angeles, preventing Stratton Oakmont from transferring any securities. Shortly thereafter, Stratton Oakmont began paying the award in in installments of proceeds from the liquidation of securities in the JB Oxford securities account Stratton Oakmont created for the plaintiff. Stratton Oakmont filed for bankruptcy in the Southern District of New York on January 24, 1997. The bankruptcy case was finally closed on March 4, 2013.
The 85-year-old matriarch of a national media empire retained Briol to pursue recovery of losses in connection with options investments. The defendant was a certified financial analyst at a Wells Fargo affiliated company with an MBA from MIT. After a two-week trial, the arbitration panel awarded Briol’s client $682,980, the full amount of damages sought.