Arbitrators deny J.P. Morgan’s request for damages against three former advisers

An arbitration panel has denied J.P. Morgan Securities LLC’s request to collect more than $1.5 million in damages and fees from three former Carmel employees who left the firm to join Raymond James & Associates in 2018.

J.P. Morgan had claimed that former private client advisors Nathan D. Shields and Mark V. Obrzut and former private client banker Jackson M. Stewart had improperly solicited clients to follow them to Raymond James, and that the three had improperly taken confidential client information with them to their new firm.

All three still work for Raymond James in Carmel.

After the three left J.P. Morgan in August 2018, the firm sued the men in U.S. District Court in Indianapolis. In December 2018, a judge issued a preliminary injunction prohibiting Shields, Obrzut and Stewart from soliciting J.P. Morgan clients or using J.P. Morgan’s confidential information.

The case then went to the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, or FINRA, for arbitration. A three-member panel of arbitrators issued its decision Oct. 22.

In the FINRA case, J.P. Morgan had asked that Shields, Obrzut and Stewart, along with Raymond James, pay $1.2 million in compensatory damages, $370,000 in attorneys’ fees, an unspecified amount in punitive damages and FINRA arbitration costs.

In turn, the three men filed a counterclaim alleging that J.P. Morgan had “launched a campaign to destroy their careers in the financial services industry, as well as their personal reputations,” after the three left the firm, a FINRA arbitration document says.

The counterclaim requested damages including up to $303,283 for Obrzut and up to $132,042 for Shields; as well as $584,760 in attorneys’ fees and costs.

The FINRA arbitrators denied both sides’ claims, as well as their requests for damages and attorneys’ fees.

The panel also ordered each side to pay $11,813 to cover the costs of the FINRA case.

J.P. Morgan declined to comment on the outcome of the case.

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2 thoughts on “Arbitrators deny J.P. Morgan’s request for damages against three former advisers

  1. These non-compete agreements should all be struck down as anticompetitive. They tie employees to employers with no obligations on employers to be fair or reasonable. Indiana courts have even enforced a non-compete agreement against a poor woman who was earning an hourly pay just barely above minimum wage. An embarrassingly outrageous result.

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