Federal Litigation: Negligence

West Palm Beach, Florida Commercial Litigation Lawyer, Russell L. Forkey, Esq.

Common Law Negligence:

The purpose of this post is to provide the reader with a general discussion concerning the concept of negligence and is not designed to be complete in all material respects. Thus, this post does not focus on the law of any particular jurisdiction. This information is being provided for educational purposes only and should not be considered or relied upon as legal advice.

Federal Court Jurisdiction:

Stand alone claims for negligence can only be filed in a federal district court if their is complete diversity of citizenship between the plaintiffs and the defendants and the amount in controversy exceeds $75,000.  Otherwise, the action must be filed in a state court.  For a brief discussion of diversity jurisdiction follow the highlighted link.

Generally, negligence can be defined as the failure to do what a reasonable and prudent person would ordinarily have done under the particular circumstances involved. In order for someone to state a claim for negligence three elements are generally required. These three elements are: (1) the existence of a duty on the part of the defendant or respondent to protect the plaintiff or claimant from the injury or damage complained of; (2) the failure of the defendant or respondent to perform that duty; and, (3) injury or damage to the plaintiff or claimant arising from such failure. Of particular note is that intent to commit a wrongful act is not an element of ordinary negligence.

What are the duties that a brokerage firm and account executive owe to a customer?  The type and scope of the duty varies depending on whether the relationship between the customer and the firm and/or account executive is based upon a non-discretionary, discretionary or hybrid account relationship. for a more detailed explanation of these terms follow the highlighted link.

Another important fact that enters into the duties that brokerage firms and account executives owe to a customer are the duties imposed by the brokerage firm's own codified rules and regulations, the rules of the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, Inc., the rules and regulations established by the state securities division, to name just a few.

In order to bring all of these duties and obligations to bear in an action for negligence, it is important to retain qualified counsel to enhance your chances of success.

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