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Girard Bengali, APC

Los Angeles Legal Issues Blog

Robert J. Girard II to present at PIABA mid-year meeting

A founding partner of Los Angeles, California-based Girard Bengali, APC, Robert J. Girard II has 18 years of experience practicing in the area of complex securities litigation. As a result of his background, he has been asked to deliver a presentation at an upcoming conference sponsored by the Public Investors Arbitration Bar Association, which is to take place on April 4 in Washington, D.C.

The continuing legal education program is focused on current issues in securities arbitration. Mr. Girard, who has substantial experience with representing financial professionals and brokerage firms that have been accused of financial misconduct, will be speaking on the topic of FINRA expungement proceedings and the regulatory changes that might impact this legal practice area. Expungement involves the process of removing customer dispute information from the Central Registration Depository file of a broker or brokerage firm. While expungements are controversial, they may be granted through FINRA arbitration proceedings.

Elements of an insurance bad faith claim

Insurance companies have an obligation to their clients, whether it is to pay the insurance holder's legitimate claim or to investigate and process a claim within a reasonable time period. This is because they often have more resources than the policyholder-they have more financial resources, greater negotiating power and more expertise. These same factors also put the company in the driving seat, which is why courts often find that companies should proceed with an obligation of good faith and fair dealing.

A company could be acting in bad faith if they misrepresent the contractual language to the policyholder to avoid a payout. Acting in bad faith could also involve making unreasonable demands to prove a cost or failing to disclose important policy limitations and exclusions. These are only some of the examples of bad faith, but the bottom line is that insurance bad faith can end up negatively impacting a client's claim.

Is your investment a risk or a scam?

You could have put your money into a savings account and earned a fraction of a percent. However, you had time to be bolder, and you decided to look into investing for your future. The trade-off for a high yield is risking that your investment will not succeed. Perhaps you did research on the kinds of investments you wanted to try, but you likely depended on your brokerage firm to ensure you were taking prudent steps and not heading toward disaster.

While your California broker cannot protect you from every financial downturn, you should always be able to trust that he or she is looking out for your best interests. If this is not the case, you may end up the victim of investment fraud.

What counts as discrimination in the workplace?

Though California residents may consider themselves more liberal and open than their counterparts across the country, the truth is that many of them still face discrimination in the workplace. This takes place when they are treated negatively because of their age, religion, race, gender, disability, skin color or national origin. It is illegal to do so either when hiring someone or while they are currently employed. Additionally, as per federal law, it is even illegal to do so when providing a referral, promotion or in other facets of employment.

Employment discrimination can take many forms, which is why employees may not even be aware of whether it took place or not. Additionally, they may not be aware that they have certain rights in case they are being discriminated against. Suggesting or stating who a preferred candidate is in an advertisement, excluding potential candidates during recruitment and paying equally qualified people different salaries are all discriminatory behaviors, as is denying or disrupting the use of company facilities and denying certain employees benefits or compensation.

Are laws curbing elder financial abuse working?

California residents may not be aware that the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority Inc. Rule 2156 went into effect in February 2018. As per this rule, broker-dealers can put a hold on an elderly client's disbursements if they believe that their client is being financially abused. According to representatives of Finra, they will begin conducting examinations to look into firms' compliance with the new rules.

Holds can be placed on accounts for 15 days, with the possibility of a 10-day extension. The rule is voluntary, but legal protection will be provided to those firms that follow the rule. According to firms though, there is room for improvement as 15 days is not enough to conduct a thorough investigation into the exploitation of a senior. More time is needed to make a definitive determination.

Can you recognize the signs of affinity fraud?

Investing is all about minimizing your risk. Part of the way to do that is going through people you trust and listening to sound advice.

Unfortunately, there’s a specific kind of scam that uses friends and family to sell you on faulty investments. It’s called affinity fraud, and recognizing the signs can save you and your loved ones a lot of money.

Women discriminated against when not able to breastfeed at work

California residents may be surprised to hear that breastfeeding discrimination cases have increased by 800 percent in the last decade. Even though protections being afforded to nursing mothers have gone up, there is still a long way to go before things become equal. Especially after a report shockingly reveals that millions of breastfeeding mothers who believed they were entitled to protection under the Break Time for Nursing Mothers provision added to the Fair Labor Standards Act are actually not entitled to it.

Nine million females of the 27 million who lack basic provisions to breastfeed are excluded from the federal provision because the law has been attached to the older FLSA of 1938-though the older law is broader it does not extend protection to all professions. As a result, teachers and nurses, fields dominated by women, are not covered. Other fields such as transportation workers, retail employees and managers and farmworkers, are also excluded from the law.

Barriers remain for women in the financial industry

While there have been improvements in gender equity in the financial field, the industry still has a long way to go. For one, while there have been increases in women in higher level positions in finance, the very top remains highly male-dominated.

Also, women continue to face a lot of challenges within the industry that their male colleagues generally do not. An article on Financial Advisor’s website noted some of the biases that women still commonly face in finance workplaces. These include:

Federal fraud indictment for ex-state assemblyman

Ex-State Assemblyman Terrence Patrick Goggin served as CEO of Metropolitan Coffee & Concessions (MC2), which ran a chain of Peet's Coffee & Tea shops located in BART stations in the bay area. Now he faces a grand jury indictment for fraud charges, including wire fraud and money-laundering.

The basics of elder financial abuse

Elder financial abuse is a serious problem. When organizations target the elderly they are taking advantage of people who are more susceptible to scams.

It's an issue that affects everyone. Whether you are a target yourself, have elderly family members or may be aging into the group that is often targeted, the financial consequences of a scam can be devastating.

Girard Bengali, APC
333 S. Grand Ave.
Suite 4375
Los Angeles, CA 90071

Phone: 323-302-9579
Fax: 323-302-8310
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