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Recovering Investment Losses

Each year, investors lose tens of billions of dollars at the hands of unethical and negligent financial professionals who abuse the trust and confidence of their clients. Bad financial markets expose and highlight investment fraud, stockbroker misconduct and stockbroker negligence. Whether it's recommending unsuitable investments, making false statements, omitting material information or simply negligence, the end result is the same: Investment losses are sustained. Our experienced lawyers can evaluate the strength of your claims and help put you on a path to financial recovery.

What Makes a Good Case?

There are several types of behavior that can constitute viable securities and investment loss claims. At Maddox Hargett & Caruso, P.C., we begin each client consultation with four basic questions:

  • What did your stockbroker or investment firm tell you about the investments?
  • What transpired with these investments and, in your opinion, why?
  • What were your investment goals?
  • What was your investment experience and history?

If your answers to these questions raise red flags, you may have a valid claim against your financial advisor or brokerage firm.

Investment fraud can and does affect all types of investors. If you or your organization has become a victim of a dishonest or negligent investment professional, it's important to take immediate action. Once we review the facts and circumstances of your case, the faster we can start the process for financial recovery.

Focused On The Brokerage Firm, Not Your Stockbroker

The meltdown on Wall Street has left industry professionals facing a litany of charges that range from gross incompetence to investment fraud. Sometimes the real problem lies with the investment firm, not the actual investment professional. It is not uncommon for investment professionals to become unwilling pawns in their investment firm's bad conduct. Many times, these investment professionals were never informed about important aspects of certain financial products including significant conflicts of interest. In these situations, we do not target the individual financial professional but rather the investment firm.

Retaining a Law Firm

When it comes to pursuing potential financial recovery from investment fraud, qualified legal counsel is crucial. Wall Street will fight with skilled attorneys. You want and need experienced securities lawyers who understand the complexities of the securities laws and FINRA arbitration. You must review the credentials of the securities lawyers you are interviewing. Talk to the securities lawyers who will be handling your case and make sure you are comfortable with their experience and expertise.

Our goal as counselors and advocates is to present a clear picture of how your claims will proceed in FINRA arbitration. From the onset of the representation, we will give you an honest assessment of your chances for recovering some or all of your investment losses. Moreover, our team will explain in detail what to expect through the FINRA arbitration process.

We also will evaluate whether mediation would be helpful to your claims, as well as if participating in, or opting out, of class action lawsuits is beneficial. If settlement offers are extended, we will help you evaluate those offers and your options.

The Process For Recovering Investment Losses

When securities and investment firms fail to deal with investors fairly and honestly, legal recourse may be your best option. Our personalized service for clients entails a focused approach that includes giving you an honest assessment of your chances for financial recovery. We begin this process by conducting a detailed evaluation of your case. This includes:

  • A complete review of your investment experiences, including your stated investment objectives. We consider your age, net worth, work history, investment history and stage in life;

  • Calculating the investment losses in your brokerage account;

  • Analyzing and evaluating the prevailing market conditions during appropriate time frames;

  • Reviewing and analyzing your brokerage account, as well as the commissions and fees charged to your account;

  • Evaluating and understanding the pattern of trading and investment activity in your account; and

  • Analyzing the suitability of the investments recommended and sold to you.

In addition, we will prepare the necessary evidence and exhibits related to your case and perform the appropriate legal research. In some instances, we may retain an expert witness in an effort to help prove your damages and to analyze and explain what went wrong and why.

Fees and Expenses

There are a variety of ways that we receive compensation in a FINRA arbitration, State and Federal court litigation and class-action litigation. In most instances, Maddox Hargett & Caruso, P.C represents investors on a contingency fee basis. Under a contingency fee arrangement, we only receive a legal fee if an award or settlement is received and the award or settlement actually collected.

Arbitration Costs

Generally, there are four major expenses associated with a FINRA arbitration dispute. These expenses considered the client's responsibility.

First, there is a non-refundable filing fee that occurs when an investor submits a Statement of Claim with FINRA. These fees vary depending on the amount involved in the dispute. The average filing fee is $1,250. To help individuals estimate various fees involved in a FINRA arbitration dispute, FINRA's Web site at www.finra.org/ArbitrationMediation/FormsTools/index.htm provides an Arbitration Filing Fee Calculator.

In addition to filing fees, there are hearing session fees. A hearing session is any meeting among the parties and the panel that lasts four hours or less, including a pre-hearing conference with the panel. A hearing day consists of two hearing sessions. Hearing session fees also vary and depend on the number of hearing sessions and the number of arbitrators involved. Generally, these fees range from $750 to $1,200.

The second major expense in a FINRA arbitration dispute is attorney fees. The hours an attorney spends on a case can vary greatly, depending on its complexity. Maddox Hargett & Caruso, P.C. represents most of its clients on a contingency fee basis.

The third major expense occurs if expert witnesses are retained. An expert witness is someone who brings specialized knowledge and credentials to your case and whose testimony during the hearing could help FINRA arbitrators understand important issues. Expert witnesses generally are paid for the time they spend reviewing your case and providing testimony. We will consult and advise you on any costs for retaining a competent expert witness and on the scope of their involvement in your case.

The fourth major expense is reimbursement for such items as duplication of materials, telephone, postage, travel, and similar expenditures.


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