A former LPL Financial broker seeking more than $1 million in defamation and other claims was ordered to pay more than $400,000 to executives at his former affiliate.
under Ruling on July 18 Mark James Dickman Must Pay Charlotte, NC-based CEO Robert P. Russo $408,439 in Attorney’s Fees and Costs After FINRA Arbitration Panel Directly Dismisses Case Alliance of Independent Consultantsand the company’s Chief Compliance Officer, Jessica N. Sexton. Dickman withdrew his claim against LPL in April 2022 — which, experts say, usually indicates a settlement has been reached.
Dochtor Kennedy, an attorney at Kennedy LLP, said that while neither party has confirmed a settlement, the payments have sometimes come in the form of forgiveness of promissory note debts on recruiting invitations and bridging payments to financial advisors. Consultant Legal. Kennedy represented the broker in a defamation claim against the brokerage firm, but he was not involved in the case. In 2018, Dickman joined the independent consultant only 10 days ago, when His previous branch is about to leaveIndependent Financial Partner, from LPL Start Your Own Brokerage This has resulted in a hiring battle for hundreds of consultants among the firms.
“It’s very rare that you see someone recovering attorneys’ fees in these matters,” Kennedy said. “Usually, to recover them, the key word is ‘boring.’ Either you made it up, or you were delusional from the start.”
Contact the Crescent Springs, KY office by email Dickman Wealth ManagementDickman said a “motion to withdraw” is being filed with the court to overturn the arbitration award, but did not answer additional questions about the nature of the case and the Charlotte panel’s decision.
Representative of LPL, Nearly 300 consultants retained The independent financial firm from Tampa, Fla., which floods the area with job listings through its affiliates, declined to discuss the case beyond what was available in the area. reward file and FINRA Brokerage Inspection. When Dickman terminated his contract in 2018, LPL accused him of violating a strict policy of “not disclosing the identity of beneficiaries in client trusts,” according to BrokerCheck.
Russo said in an interview that the nearly four-year defense of the case was “extremely mentally exhausting.” He declined to discuss the case beyond confirming official records showing that the independent adviser fired Dickman “because his registered broker-dealer had terminated his contract,” according to BrokerCheck.
“What’s in our favor is obviously the truth and the facts. It’s helped us, thankfully with the results that were delivered,” Russo said. “You really feel like a victim because there’s nothing you can do to stop the bill.”
The case shows how Chaotic hiring fight among independent branches can rotate stuck in lengthy arbitration proceedings.While such victories are rare, some brokers have hundreds of thousands of dollars or even claiming millions through arbitration regarding their termination and their former firm’s explanation for it in the required filings with FINRA.
After leaving Independent Advisors, Dickman returned to the brokerage business under Independent Finance and is seeking $1.4 million in damages and removal of official Form U5 filings upon his dismissal. He initially charged LPL and independent advisor executives with defamation, slander, defamation, fraud, misrepresentation, tortious interference, unfair trade practices, breach of contract, breach of regulatory obligations causing injury, unjust enrichment, willful infliction of emotional injury, negligent employment, failure to train, failure to supervise, and other violations of FINRA rules. Every interviewee denied the allegations.
Dickman withdrew his case against LPL last year after making multiple amendments to the original August 2019 filing. In May, the arbitrator granted Sexton and Russo’s motion for direct award, dismissing the case and awarding fees.
“The panel granted Sexton and Russo’s motion for direct adjudication because the evidence presented was insufficient to satisfy Sexton’s evidentiary standard of liability and (Dickman) failed to present evidence concerning Russo,” according to a brief note in the ruling document. “The panel ordered briefings and oral argument on the fee request.”
In their decision, the panel denied Dickman’s request for deletion and ordered him to pay $380,067 in attorney’s fees, $28,372 in costs, and additional interest costs. Of the $15,850 total hearing costs, the panel allocated 72 percent, or $11,425, to Dickman. few cases are overturned Go to court after the arbitration decision.
“There’s a high bar to vacate this position, and we’re going to do everything in our power to get it,” Kennedy said.
Russo said he hoped Dickman would “stand by their decision” and pay for the panel’s order.
“I am grateful that Mr. Dickman was able to return to the IFP three months after being fired,” Russo said. “I wish him the best to keep going and be successful.”