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Broker Awarded $2.15 Million in Termination Case

July 15, 1996|From Bloomberg Business News

A former Merrill Lynch & Co. commodities broker in Los Angeles was awarded $2.15 million by an arbitration panel on grounds she had been wrongfully terminated by the securities firm, the broker's attorney said Sunday.

The National Assn. of Securities Dealers panel agreed with the broker, Rochelle Atlas Maize. The firing came two months after she had been recruited from Smith Barney Inc. She also argued that by noting the dismissal on her industry record--called a U-5 form--she was prevented from finding another job in the industry. Maize has been unemployed since November 1994, said her attorney, Michael Blumenfeld.

Under the terms of the award, however, Maize must return the $510,000 signing bonus Merrill originally paid.

"Merrill Lynch had no grounds for terminating her, and by filing the U-5 they ensured she wouldn't be hired anywhere else," Blumenfeld said in a statement.

Merrill Lynch argued that it fired Maize because it discovered additional customer complaints she had not told Merrill about.

"We find this decision unwarranted, and frankly, inexplicable," Merrill Lynch spokesman Tim Gilles said.

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