Kelleher v. Wedbush Securities

Kelleher v. Wedbush Securities


In June 2011 Commins & Knudsen obtained a FINRA award in the amount of $3,500,000, plus 4,125 stock options.  Wedbush challenged the award in Superior Court and in the California Court of Appeal, but on April 9, 2013 the Court of Appeal rejected the challenge.

In 2007 Stephen Kelleher, a municipal bond trader, signed an employment agreement with Wedbush Securities.  Mr. Kelleher had already had a successful career in municipal bonds, and Wedbush wanted him to establish and develop a west coast presence in that area.  It lured him with a guaranteed minimum compensation package with objective variables based on his own production and the performance of his department.

Mr. Kelleher did everything Wedbush asked of him.  He turned his department into a highly profitable group, generating tens of millions of dollars in revenue and profit for Wedbush. 

Beginning in early 2008, Mr. Kelleher received all sorts of written and verbal assurances about payment under his employment agreement.  To mollify him, Wedbush made a few partial payments, including one that he received shortly after filing his Statement of Claim before FINRA.  But Wedbush never caught up to its promises.  Instead, Wedbush executives continued to promise him that he would be paid and continued to praise him as the firm’s “biggest producer.”  And he continued to rely on those promises by producing profits for the firm.  Eventually, Mr. Kelleher had accrued millions of dollars in unpaid compensation and was left with no alternative but to file an action against his employer.

“In the midst of a highly successful twenty five year career in the securities brokerage industry, I found myself in the scary and unenviable position of being compelled to pursue legal action against my employer in order to receive my contractually due compensation.  

Fortunately, I found David Commins and Kit Knudsen and their law firm.

My fears and concerns were quickly mitigated and, in short order, entirely eliminated as David and Kit guided me and my case to an overwhelmingly successful conclusion.  From first consultation through the final appeal, my lawyers were consummate professionals.  Their work was unfailingly efficient, methodical, cost effective, creative and results oriented.  Further, their knowledge and experience served me extremely well as their network of contacts within the field and, more importantly, within the judicial/court system invariably contributed to the outstanding judgment.”

Stephen Kelleher