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A district court has confirmed an arbitration panel’s $750,000 award to the Kay Family Revocable Trust in its securities case against Stone & Youngberg LLP. The trust sustained financial losses when its money was invested in the FutureSelect Prime Advisor II, which had most of its capital invested with Ponzi scam mastermind Bernard Madoff.

In its arbitration claim, Kay Family Revocable Trust claimed that S & Y failed to perform its requisite due diligence before recommending that the trust invest in the fund. S & Y rejoined with the argument that the trust had not succeeded in proving a causal link between the Madoff scheme and any alleged lack of due diligence. S & Y also argued it shouldn’t have to be responsible for the harm that the Trust suffered as a result of Madoff’s financial fraud. The brokerage firm even pointed to a federal district court ruling of a professional malpractice claim that concluded that “a simple ‘but for’ relationship between the claimed negligence and the injury” will not back up a finding of legal causation. S & Y also cited a decision by a federal appeals court that said it was up to a securities fraud plaintiff to prove that the loss it sustained was a foreseeable outcome of the alleged misrepresentation.

The U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, however, concluded that the panel’s decision to confirm the award in favor of the investor and against S & Y was not manifest disregard of the law, but rather the application of the law to the facts the way it found them.

Stone & Youngberg, LLC v. Kay Family Revocable Trust UAD 02-07-90 FBO Lenore Bleadon Under Trust A, Justia Dockets, January 13, 2011

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