Barry R. Lax, a founding partner of Lax & Neville LLP, has an extensive background in commercial, employment and securities litigation in all forums, including, state and federal courts, and arbitrations before the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, Inc. (“FINRA”), National Futures Association (“NFA”), Judicial Arbitration and Mediation Services (“JAMS”) and the American Arbitration Association (“AAA”).
Since forming Lax & Neville LLP in 2007, Mr. Lax has represented customers and broker/dealers in disputes regarding sales practice issues and product problem cases and has successfully represented hedge fund investors and general partners in complicated commercial and securities litigations throughout his career. He has recovered in excess of $100 million in arbitration awards, judgments and settlements on behalf of broker/dealer customers and employees in the financial services industry, and has successfully defended and resolved numerous matters on behalf of his defense clients.
Mr. Lax was lead counsel in a FINRA arbitration where the Panel awarded his clients $16.1 million, representing in excess of 100% of their net out-of-pocket losses, for the sale and marketing of an unsuitable security. The Panel rendered the award after a 95 day arbitration hearing, the longest customer FINRA arbitration hearing in the last 20 years and the second longest ever. The Panel also awarded $500,000 in sanctions for discovery abuses, the largest amount of sanctions awarded in a customer case in at least the last 10 years.
Mr. Lax has also won three FINRA arbitration awards totaling approximately $2.6 million against Merrill Lynch on behalf of investors who were damaged by sales practice abuses of the Merrill Lynch Phil Scott Team. In one of the cases, Mr. Lax and his firm, who represent professional athletes nationwide, represented Douglas Mirabelli, a former catcher for the Boston Red Sox, for sales practice abuses concerning the Merrill Lynch Phil Scott Team and the Merrill Lynch Phil Scott Team Income Portfolios. The FINRA arbitration panel awarded Mr. Mirabelli the full amount of his net out-of-pocket losses, along with the entire amount of the attorneys’ fees and costs requested.
Mr. Lax currently represents Jorge Posada, a former catcher with the New York Yankees, in a Florida state court action against his former financial advisers alleging damages of at least $11.2 million resulting from fraud and misrepresentations relating to the sale of unsuitable investments.
Mr. Lax has also represented numerous high net-worth investors regarding the systematic and firm-wide misrepresentations concerning the sale of speculative and highly complex investment products in arbitrations against Citigroup Smith Barney concerning the ASTA/MAT and Falcon hedge funds, Deutsche Bank concerning the Aravali Fund, and UBS Financial Services, Inc. concerning Lehman Brothers Principal Protected Notes.
Additionally, Mr. Lax has victoriously represented employees and employers in industry and private employment disputes, ranging from general breach of contract claims and failure to pay bonus claims to complex HIV discrimination and Qui Tam actions. Mr. Lax won a $1.2 million JAMS arbitration award for unpaid bonuses inclusive of interest and attorneys’ fees wherein the claimant alleged that he received a drastically lower bonus than the one recommended by his supervisor solely because he was HIV positive and had recently gone on an approved medical leave of absence due to his illness in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act, the New York State Human Rights Law and the New York City Human Rights Law. Mr. Lax also won a FINRA arbitration award against Morgan Stanley Smith Barney for failing to pay two of its current employees their earned back-end bonuses. The FINRA arbitration panel awarded the claimants the entire amount of compensatory damages they were seeking. Mr. Lax was also lead counsel in a FINRA arbitration where the Panel recommended expungement of the Termination Explanation on the Form U-5 after finding that HSBC’s reason for terminating his client’s employment was unsupported and false, and awarded six figures to the employee in unpaid compensation. Mr. Lax also successfully defended a well-known New York City restaurant and its manager against claims of age discrimination and defamation by a former employee.
Mr. Lax has also defended clients in regulatory matters and in avoidance and preference claims in Federal Bankruptcy Court. On March 3, 2011, Mr. Lax argued before the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit in the matter In re: Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities LLC, regarding the determination of a customer’s net equity claim against a broker-dealer pursuant to the Securities Investor Protection Act where the net equity claims were denied by the trustee. Mr. Lax was selected as one of three lawyers to argue before the Second Circuit on behalf of over 100 Madoff victims. Mr. Lax and his firm have been and continue to be at the forefront of the Madoff litigation.
Mr. Lax has been quoted extensively by The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, CNN Money, Bloomberg, Dow Jones, Financial Planning, Thomson Reuters, New York Post, NY Daily News, Newswires Column, Investment News, WealthManagement.com, WNYC News, Long Island Press, Yeshiva World News and other financial publications. He has also appeared on television and radio news programs such as CBS News, NBC News, Court TV and Marketplace/NPR.