Merrill Lynch is attempting to stop 19 arbitration claims filed by former employees who allege millions in damages from stock losses. The brokerage firm filed federal court actions last week arguing that the claims are the same issues that have already been litigated previously, going back as early as 2007. Those alleged failure to disclose risks in mortgage-backed securities that the firm held. The claimants in the arbitration cases are brokers and managers who worked at Merrill Lynch for years in the past, all are retired. Merrill is claiming that the former employees are attempting to use the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) arbitration system as a way to bring claims that would otherwise be time sensitive and barred under statutes of limitations if heard in court. Merrill alleges that their cases are based on the RICO (Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act) statutes, and that the wrongdoing was detailed in documents released with the 2014 Department of Justice settlement with Bank of America and its subsidiaries for $16.7 billion. The claimants allege that none of the cases ever stated RICO violations, and that their arbitration claims all fall within a four-year statute of limitations.
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