Advocates for Investors
Securities Arbitration Lawyer
Protecting Investors in the Pacific Northwest and Across the Country
We help clients in financial litigation, especially investors who have suffered investment losses from securities fraud or mishandled investment accounts.
As a specialty Practice Group of the Portland-based law firm Samuels Yoelin Kantor LLP, we focus on getting results for clients who have lost money through their financial professional’s unlawful conduct. That may include claims to recover losses caused by inappropriate securities recommendations, or money stolen from victims of elder financial abuse, Ponzi schemes, or from similar circumstances. “Financial professionals” includes state and FINRA- registered stockbrokers and broker-dealer firms, as well as state and SEC-registered investment advisers and investment adviser representatives. It may also include certified public accountants and trustees.
We focus on recovering money for our clients.
Our financial litigation practice, led by attorney Darlene Pasieczny, combines experience with the venues and procedural rules for seeking investment recovery, effectiveness in fighting for the victims of financial fraud and investment losses, and compassion for clients who have lost their retirement funds or other financial security.
Claims against FINRA-licensed securities firms and brokers are typically litigated through FINRA’s arbitration forum and governed by the procedural rules of FINRA (the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority. Claims against other financial professionals might mean arbitration through a different forum, or litigation in a court of law. Arbitration means no judge or jury. Guiding a case through an arbitration proceeding can be a radically different ballgame with different rules than a court of law. Understanding where your claims can be brought – FINRA arbitration, another arbitration forum, or a court of law – is one of the first steps in reviewing a potential case. Darlene has experience in all of these venues.
Securities arbitration and litigation is a specialized area of state and federal law, and not many attorneys concentrate on recovering financial losses for investors. Each case is different, an no attorney can ever guarantee any particular result. But we know the substantive law and procedural rules, and are not afraid of having frank discussions with our clients about their options.
Darlene has served on numerous state and national securities committees and advisory groups to help education attorneys and the investing public about this area of the law, and to improve the rules of the dispute resolution forums for investors. For some examples, Darlene was recognized by her peers with PIABA’s 2017 Outstanding Service Award. She served on PIABA’s Board of Directors from 2017 – 2023. In June 2021, she was appointed to FINRA’s National Arbitration and Mediation Committee by the FINRA Board of Governors. Darlene served as the 2021 Chair of the Oregon State Bar’s Securities Regulation Section. She also frequently speaks on securities issues and helps guest teach at law school securities clinics.
Darlene also represents clients in trust and estate litigation, and financial elder abuse civil cases. While not necessarily involving securities issues, these cases often involve mismanagement of financial accounts, breach of fiduciary duties, theft, or outright fraud. State law controls whether a state’s financial elder abuse statue might apply in a particular situation, for a claim against a broker or investment adviser. State financial abuse statutes are a powerful tool in combating abuse – some provide for treble damages and attorney fees to be paid by the abuser. However, certain categories of people and companies are exempt from those statues, so it requires a case by case analysis to see if the claim is appropriate in that situation.
Darlene is an experienced appellate attorney, focusing on civil appeals in the subject areas of securities, trusts and estates (so-called fiduciary litigation), financial elder abuse, and corporate business disputes. She has successfully represented clients before the Oregon Court of Appeals, Oregon Supreme Court, the Washington State Court of Appeals, on briefing to the Supreme Court of the United States, and before the Bankruptcy Appellate Panel for the Ninth Circuit.
Our clients benefit from our knowledge and depth of experience. After evaluation of your matter, we can tell you what to expect if you choose to pursue securities claims or an appeal, the risks inherent in any arbitration or litigation matter, and your options going forwards.
To be effective as a firm, we go beyond what most lawyers do. We give personal attention to each matter and take pride in responsiveness to client questions. We also give frank opinions about the risks of losing, and potential hurdles in a case. Just as the facts of every case are different, every client’s appetite for the time and costs of litigation is different. We are not in the business of wasting time, or taking cases that do not make financial sense for the client to pursue.
In additional to reviewing a case for potential liability of the opposing party (that they did something in violation of a law or regulation), there must be resulting and recoverable damages to make a lawsuit financially worth pursuing. Securities claims can have unique damages claims, such as damages available under state Blue Sky securities laws. State and federal law have long recognized a variety of different types of damages claims, and some may be more appropriate in a situation than others. That is important, because some types of damages claims may enable a larger recovery.
A client’s financial losses must be calculated and substantiated to support a claim. We work to identify and model out the argument for the highest possible recovery for our clients. We also hire specialized experts – forensic accountants, for example – for additional help in special cases.
Many defrauded investors struggle to take positive action.
Financial crimes have emotional impact on the victims, who can unconsciously delay, or deny, or continue to trust a bad actor. For the elderly — for anyone — losing one’s life savings can present incredibly tough choices.
What these victims may not know is that financial mismanagement and financial fraud happens in every community regardless of age, gender, race, social or economic status. We have helped investors who are incredibly smart in their professions – be it medical, legal, business. But they aren’t trained in portfolio management or securities investing. That’s why they hired a financial professional. And they had the misfortune of hiring and putting their trust in the wrong person.
You can see for yourself in news articles, on FINRA’s BrokerCheck system and the SEC’s IAPD system, or press releases about state or federal disciplinary actions against brokers and financial advisers.
Unfortunately, elder investors may be more targeted by and more vulnerable to fraudsters. Elder investors have accumulated their retirement savings from lifetimes of work and savings. They may have physical or cognitive decline issues that make them less able to spot red flags of mismanagement or scams. And they generally have less ability to weather market volatility, or to bounce back from a heavy loss. Financial losses can mean losing independence and becoming more reliable on family, or on state or federal social services. Often, it is good-intentioned family that recognizes something may be wrong, and helps the investor seek appropriate legal assistance.
We work hard to reduce those emotional barriers by underscoring how anyone can find themselves the victim of financial fraud or investment mismanagement. We’re proud to be counselors as much as problem solvers, and to help rebuild trust so that investors feel comfortable in seeking help from a new and more appropriate financial adviser.
We take the time with our clients to explain the pros and cons of litigation, how FINRA arbitration or a court case works, and, when appropriate, alternatives like mediation or other settlement negotiation.
We often say – “thank you for being our client, and we hope you don’t need to call us again.” That’s because our clients reach out to us after they discovery some kind of financial harm caused by their trusted professional. We hope that they never go through that experience again (and there are excellent financial professionals out there who do great things for their clients).
If you think that you, or somebody you care about, has been cheated by a financial professional, call the Investor Defenders.
All calls are confidential. There is never a charge for our services until we reach an agreement about fees, and many of our cases are handled on a contingency fee basis. When we work on a contingency basis our attorney fees are paid as an agreed-upon percentage of your recovery. We also often work with a group of clients who have similar claims against the same financial adviser. By doing this, litigation costs that are the responsibility of the clients are shared among the group, making it more economic for everyone.
Meet Darlene PasiecznyDarlene Pasieczny (“Pah-shetch-nee”) leads the Investor Defenders team, with support from our SYK litigators and paralegal staff. Her wide range of experience and knowledge in the field of securities litigation, elder financial abuse, and FINRA arbitration gives her the edge to help her clients recover investment losses.
News & Investigations
Reviewing Investment Account Statements During Market Volatility – Five Red Flags Seeing that account balance number can hurt. And not all investment losses are potentially recoverable or due to inappropriate recommendations by...
What Does it Mean for Investors? LPL Financial Settlement $26 Million Today the North American Securities Administrators Association (NASAA) announced a massive LPL Financial settlement with state securities...
Pasieczny Appointed to FINRA’s National Arbitration and Mediation Committee SYK is pleased to announce that attorney Darlene Pasieczny (“Pah-shetch-nee”) has been appointed by the Board of Governors for the Financial...
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