Financial Institutions

Banks, Lenders & Brokers

In addition to our securities law practice, our litigation experience on behalf of a variety of clients in financial institution and financial services litigation is impressive, and includes the following general categories:

Investment Professionals

We have conducted jury trials involving securities investments, and we have handled a many NASD and FINRA arbitrations as well as proceedings before the SEC pertaining to managed investment accounts and securities offerings. Our experience in these matters includes:

  • Churning (excessive turnover) claims
  • Suitability-of-investment claims (“know your customer” violations)
  • Non-disclosure, misrepresentation, securities fraud and fraudulent inducement claims
  • Unauthorized trading and impermissible discretionary trading claims.
  • Account mismanagement and accounting error claims
  • Breach of fiduciary duty claims against investment advisors and trustees
  • Conflict of interest claims against a variety of fiduciaries
  • Fraudulent inducement claims related to investment solicitations
  • Statutory securities claims (Securities Act, state and federal)
  • Consumer protection act claims in state and federal courts and arbitrations
  • Equity disputes related to private companies and partnerships
  • Disclosure compliance in relation to public offerings.**
  • Dissolution disputes related to professional practices

In these matters, we have represented investors, broker-dealers, registered representatives, partners and equity holders. We have also represented and provided national coordinating counsel services to broker dealers and registered representatives, and we have represented multimillion dollar portfolio investors in claims against securities firms in complex investment scheme cases.

We have represented parties to real estate development joint ventures that have been mismanaged and we have handled claims against affiliates in “selling away” cases in which the question of agency relationship is the key determinant of liability.

Real Estate Investments

We have also handled claims involving breach of fiduciary duty against trustees and power-of-attorney holders brought by private clients. Finally, we have handled REIT litigation (claims related to real estate investment trusts) and suits against financial services corporations in relation to placing “high risk” investments in the real estate markets.

Bank & Lender Liability* Claims

We have tried claims involving lender liability issues, including cases involving canceled loans, over-indulgent lending, revolving credit line administration and failure to insure property. We have also handled issues with state bank examiners and lost deposit and accounting claims. In one of our cases, a bank was sued for negligent lending practices based upon the extension of credit to a commercial borrower that was allegedly beyond the borrower’s means of repayment, and the action included allegations of predatory lending practices. The case proceeded to trial, and after five weeks we obtained a defense verdict for the bank we represented.

Negligent lending practices.

We have tried cases involving allegations of negligent lending practices, and we have litigated claims related to revolving credit for agricultural, small business and private individual credit disputes. We have handled claims for consequential damages in relation to discriminatory lending practices and credit denials, and we have handled claims on behalf of financial institutions related to misrepresentation in loan applications and underwriting; we have also handled claims involving construction loan accounts and surety bond disputes.

Foreclosure litigation.

While we don’t generally handle run-of-the mill foreclosure actions, we handle commercial litigation related to lending practices when such claims are ancillary to commercial foreclosures, and we have handled claims involving disputed foreclosures and surety claims arising in relation foreclosures. We have also handled claims against real estate brokerage firms for breach of fiduciary duty and fraud in connection with seller-retained mortgages and breach of contract claims for consequential damages and specific performance following loan commitment retractions and loan denials.

Insurance Disputes

We have also been involved in claims based upon the breach of the contractual duty to secure insurance for real property collateral, claims based upon damage to credit rating following the declination of loan applications, and claims of invasion of privacy and libel based upon credit reporting practices.

ERISA Claims

We have litigated a number of cases involving ERISA plans, and claims against fiduciaries in relation to plan management. We have handled ERISA bad faith actions and arbitrations, as well as claims involving disputes related to ERISA preemption and ERISA subrogation claims in relation to the “make whole” doctrine and similar legal principles, including set-aside agreements and declaratory judgment actions.

*One meaning of the term “bank liability” is what a bank owes, including most notably customer deposits. Bank liabilities are typically listed on the right-hand side of a bank’s balance sheet. We do not generally become involved in disputes regarding that meaning of the term, but instead work in the area of lending practices and the liabilities that flow from those activities.
**The firm generally does not handle public offerings, private placements or blue sky law compliance issues. Securities underwriting issues and securities transactions are referred to firms specializing in these non-litigation issues. We do, however, regularly handle cases involving the litigation of disputes involving these activities.

The key to success in litigation is to be realistic and careful in terms of how a "win" is defined under the circumstances of any given dispute. No two cases are exactly alike. Remember that no attorney or firm can guarantee success according to any arbitrary standard or in terms of a favorable result at trial. Whether or not to try a case or settle a case is a decision a client makes with the advise of an attorney, and no attorney can guarantee anything about the outcome of a civil case. Any case, tried to a jury or a court, might be resolved unfavorably. Trials are inherently unpredictable. Statements contained on this website regarding the ability of the professionals at Godfrey | Johnson, P.C., are based upon good faith perceptions of our abilities demonstrated over years of practice, and are not intended to imply that the attorneys have never lost a case or that we can assure that any particular case will be won at trial or on motions. The best way to evaluate any case is to communicate about it in depth with qualified legal counsel, providing all relevant information to the attorney. It is dangerous to withhold facts from an attorney, and can lead to the delivery of legal advise that is fundamentally flawed. No attorney can prevent this from happening, as attorneys all must rely to some extent upon the information that is provided to them by their clients. The best way to evaluate an attorney is by that attorney's track record, and ours is open for discussion in any specific field. Our abilities as described on this website are based upon experience in actual cases, which have been successful more often than not. ©2015 Godfrey | Johnson, P.C. All rights reserved.

FINRA Arbitrations

The Financial INdustry Regulatory Agency (FINRA), formerly the National Association Securities Dealers (NASD), provides an efficient and inexpensive forum for the arbitration of securities and investment related disputers by customers against members and between

We have handled a significant number of these arbitrations.