Creative Representation | Expert Litigation

BartkoZankel Obtains Final Approval in Financial Advisor Class Settlement

May 28, 2015

The firm, representing a defined class of 135 former Wells Fargo financial adviser executives, obtained court approval of a settlement against the bank for a total of $7.42 million.  Wakefield, et al. v. Wells Fargo Company, et al., 3:13-05053 LB (ND Cal.).  The settlement also requires Wells to cease forfeiting deferred compensation of financial advisers who leave the bank to work for competitors.  View pdf copy of the Order.

The suit was commenced in 2013, on behalf of California and North Dakota financial advisers whose deferred compensation was forfeited due to competition, in violation of Cal. Bus. & Prof. Code § 16600 and related provisions of North Dakota law.  After motion practice, mediation, and document discovery, the parties settled on terms which return to the plaintiff financial advisers 99% of their forfeited compensation for those plaintiffs who left Wells within four years of the suit being filed, and $10,000 each to those plaintiffs who left Wells earlier than four years before suit was filed.  The trial Judge, the Hon. Laurel Beeler, described the result as an “excellent recovery for class members” in her Order approving the final settlement.  Class recoveries of nearly 100% for class members are virtually unheard of and the firm is very proud of this result.  The settlement that was approved followed a mediation conducted by the Hon. Ron Sabraw (Ret.) of JAMS, and was prosecuted in conjunction with co-counsel at the Florida firm Shumaker, Loop & Kendrick, LLP.  BartkoZankel attorneys responsible for the result include William Edlund, Rob Bunzel and Sony Barari.