Nearly two years after Waltham resident Philip Grossman checked into a Woburn hotel and committed suicide, his family wants to sue Bank of America for his Massachusetts wrongful death. The 65-year-old computer consultant killed himself after he and his wife lost over half their savings.
Until 2007, Grossman had never placed his money in anything riskier than certificates of deposit. He decided to work with a broker at Bank of America’s investment arm on the advice of his longtime banker at the bank and because he thought he would earn more money without great risk to his savings. Grossman’s family claims he lost $400,000 during the economic crisis because his broker, Clifton Spinney, had invested his money more aggressively than promised.
His wife and daughter filed their civil suit alleging Massachusetts wrongful death, negligence, negligent misrepresentation, and breach of fiduciary duties. Unfortunately, because Grossman signed an agreement that any dispute with Bank of America needed to be worked out in private arbitration, his family is finding that getting their day before a jury in civil court is proving difficult.
Bank of America has invoked the arbitration agreement and in August, a district court judge agreed with the bank. US District Court Judge Douglas P. Woodlock says that although the family “may win it later… it seem to me the law right now is pretty clear.” That said, Massachusetts Secretary of State William F. Galvin has said investors shouldn’t have to sign away their rights when they decide to work with a broker. The Boston Globe quotes him calling the arbitration system “woefully inadequate and very unfair.” Now, the Massachusetts Secretary of State’s office says it is investigating whether Spinney engaged in broker misconduct when handling the Grossmans’ money. According to the Boston Herald, the state would pursue compensation for the couple’s losses.
Grossman’s family is now getting ready to take their case to arbitration.
Massachusetts Wrongful Death
We know how tough it can be to lose your loved one because someone else was negligent, careless, or reckless. Loved ones seeking to recover Boston wrongful death damages should explore all their legal options. Depending on the specifics of your case, family members may be able to recover compensation for loss of income, protection, services, care, society, comfort, assistance, companionship, counsel, guidance, or advice, funeral, burial, or cremation costs, punitive damages, and other damages. That said, if filing a civil lawsuit is not an option for you, there may be other alternatives for recovery.
Family fights to sue Bank of America after Waltham man’s suicide, Boston.com, March 13, 2011
Mass. probes actions of Bank of America broker, Boston Herald/AP, March 15, 2011
Related Web Resources:
Wrongful Death Claims, Nolo
Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform (PDF)
William Francis Galvin, Secretary of the Commonwealth
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