Ex-Credit Suisse (USA) Broker Appeals Dismissal of Class-action Pay Suit
A California broker is appealing the dismissal of his class-action lawsuit seeking up to $300 million in deferred compensation for former Credit Suisse Securities (USA) brokers who went to firms other than Wells Fargo Advisors after the Swiss bank shut its U.S. operation.
Christopher Laver, one of scores of Credit Suisse brokers who now work at UBS Wealth Management USA, filed the appeal in San Francisco in July, according to a letter his lawyer sent Wednesday to a judge in New York. Credit Suisse is attempting to get the New York court to compel arbitration in the case, a process that Laver seeks to delay.
Even if Laver’s appeal and subsequent arguments are successful, brokers will have a long wait before receiving any of the alleged money Credit Suisse held onto. The appeal process is likely to take 18-20 months to resolve, according to the letter from Roger Heller, a partner at Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein in San Francisco, who represents Laver.
The appeal of the class-action lawsuit, which a California judge dismissed on June 21, has not previously been reported. Credit Suisse has argued in court papers that an appeal is almost hopeless in light of a U.S. Supreme Court decision in May that upholds employers’ right to include class-action waivers in employment agreements.
Laver’s lawsuit was one of dozens of actions former Credit Suisse brokers have taken in arbitration and in court to receive deferred stock awards and to defend against their former employer’s attempt to claw back some payments. None to date have been resolved, said lawyers representing the brokers.
When the Swiss bank shuttered its U.S. retail brokerage operations in 2015, it told its fewer than 400 advisors they would be able to collect most of their deferred pay if they agreed to join Wells Fargo. Wells ultimately hired about 110 of Credit Suisse’s approximately 335 brokers, while UBS landed about 100.
Credit Suisse has filed a raiding suit against its Swiss rival that is ongoing.