Search Our Website:
On Friday, May 7, Joseph A. Dougherty — a shareholder in the Litigation Section of Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney's Philadelphia office and chair the firm's Trade Secret and Restrictive Covenant Practice Group — led a team that delivered another victory for client Stifel Nicolaus & Co. Inc. in a hotly contested misappropriation of trade secrets/unfair competition/raiding case. After 15 days of arbitration, a Financial Industry Regulatory Authority Inc. (FINRA) panel sitting in San Francisco denied all of the claims asserted by A.G. Edwards & Sons Inc., (which was acquired by Wachovia Securities LLC and later became part of Wells Fargo Security Advisors LLC) arising from the departure of four brokers and a sales assistant and their subsequent employment at Stifel. The team led by Dougherty not only provided a full defense verdict, but granted Stifel Nicolaus more than $900,000 in attorney fees and assessing all forum costs against the plaintiff.

The win was reported on by a number of news outlets during the week of May 10, 2010, including, Law360, InvestmentNews and Dow Jones. As explained in both articles, the case was originally filed in October of 2007, together with a companion case in the United States District Court, Eastern District of California. Attempts to obtain injunctive relief in the court action were defeated in October 2007. Last December, Dougherty led the Buchanan team which defeated similar claims in an arbitration proceeding in South Carolina where Wells Fargo was ordered to pay $1.1 million in legal costs to Stifel. A number of raiding cases arose after A.G. Edwards financial advisors chose to join Stifel and other firms following Wachovia Securities' 2007 acquisition of A.G. Edwards.

Dougherty weighed in on the ongoing case in the article, titled "Stifel Wins Another Broker Raiding Dispute." As noted in the article, "Stifel's attorney, Joseph Dougherty, a partner with Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney, said the advisor team opened an office for Stifel in the same area within days of the merger. That was when A.G. Edwards/Wachovia went to federal court in Sacramento to get an injunction to prevent the team from soliciting their former clients, the lawyer said. 'The majority of the clients chose to go over with the advisors,' Dougherty said."

Furthermore, he was quoted in the Law360 article, titled "Wachovia Ordered To Pay In Broker-Raiding Feud," stating, "The award confirms that when firms tell financial advisers that they are free to leave in the wake of an acquisition, arbitration panels are going to hold the firms to that representation."

In addition to Dougherty, attorneys Andrew J. Shapren, Elizabeth L. Long and Anne E. Kozul from Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney PC represented Stifel Nicolaus.