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Samuel E. Cohen

Shareholder
2000 Market Street, Suite 2300
Philadelphia, PA 19103
(215) 575-2587
(215) 575-0856 - Fax
secohen@mdwcg.com

As a member of the Securities & Investments Professional Liability Practice Group, Sam represents broker-dealers, registered representatives and registered investment advisors in state and federal court and in Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) arbitration proceedings.  Sam also represents broker-dealers, registered representatives and registered investment advisors before state and federal regulatory authorities as well as in FINRA investigations, examinations, inquiries and enforcement matters.  As well, Sam represents registered representatives in expungement proceedings.  Sam's practice also includes the defense of insurance agents and brokers, real estate agents and title agents.

From 1996 through 1997, Sam served as a law clerk to the Honorable G. Craig Lord in the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia County. Sam graduated from Temple University in 1993 where he received a Bachelor of Business Administration and subsequently his juris doctor in 1996 from Temple University School of Law. At Temple Law School, Sam served as the vice president of his graduating class. 

In 2019 Sam was appointed to serve a 3 year term on the Special Olympics PA-Philadelphia Executive Advisory Board. The Executive Advisory Board assists Special Olympics PA-Philadelphia by opening doors to key community and corporate contacts, raising funding for the program, providing high-level support of its strategic objectives and in general, advocating on behalf of its athletes and mission.

Significant Representative Matters

  • Defense verdict obtained on behalf of a broker dealer in a FINRA arbitration alleging over concentration in energy and precious metals investments. 

  • Defense verdict obtained on behalf of broker-dealer in arbitration in a suit brought by two retired broker Claimants who sought $5 million dollars in past and future benefits under a retirement program which paid override fees to retired brokers on books of business the retired brokers had developed decades ago.

  • Expungement recommendation obtained in FINRA arbitration on behalf of financial advisor involving investment losses in an advisory account.

  • Defense verdict obtained on behalf of a registered investment advisor and broker-dealer following a four day jury trial in Schuylkill County.  The registered investment advisor and broker dealer were sued by their former client for investment losses.  The Plaintiff was a paraplegic whose wealth was obtained through a jury verdict and settlements related to his injuries.  The case was defended on the basis that the registered investment advisor met the standard of care and did not breach any duties owed to the Plaintiff, as well as the fact that the Plaintiff was net profitable in his investments.  The Plaintiff sought to "cherry pick" losing investments from an overall profitable portfolio.  

  • Defense verdict obtained on behalf of a broker-dealer and a broker in a FINRA arbitration in New York. The Claimant, owner of a broker-dealer, alleged he was being charged an unreasonable mark-up on municipal bond sales and that he was the victim of elder abuse. In granting the motion to dismiss, the arbitration panel found that the Claimant failed to present a basis for his claim and recommended expungement of all references to the arbitration from the broker's records maintained by FINRA on the grounds that the claim, allegation or information was factually impossible or clearly erroneous. As well, the panel found the mark-ups on the municipal bonds sold to Claimant were not unfair or unreasonable and were not inconsistent with industry regulations.  

  • Defense verdict obtained on behalf of broker-dealer in FINRA arbitration where the customer alleged that a violation of her privacy had occurred, as well as asserting claims for fraud, breach of fiduciary duty, negligence and breach of contract.

  • Defense verdict obtained on behalf of a broker-dealer and broker in FINRA arbitration alleging unsuitability and securities fraud in sale of a variable annuity. The defense was presented on the grounds that the variable annuity was suitable to the investment objectives of the customer and that any losses sustained by the customer were market related. 

  • Defense of broker-dealer in "selling away" case in FINRA arbitration alleging failure to supervise broker who allegedly operated a Ponzi scheme while affiliated with the broker dealer. Defense proceeded on the grounds that the broker-dealer's supervision of the broker was reasonable and that the Plaintiff did not sustain any losses in his investment in the scheme. Defense verdict obtained.

  • Motion to dismiss, with prejudice, granted in FINRA arbitration based upon Plaintiff customer's repeated discovery violations. Motion to dismiss upheld in federal district court following petition to vacate arbitration award filed by Plaintiff customer. Motion to dismiss granted in FINRA arbitration based upon FINRA Eligibility Rule.

  • Defense verdict obtained in FINRA arbitration on behalf of broker and broker-dealer where the public customer alleged that she was not properly advised regarding the tax implications resulting from a premature withdrawal from a variable annuity in a IRA account.

  • Motion to dismiss granted on behalf of title insurance agent in Federal civil RICO case.

  • Expungement obtained in FINRA arbitration on behalf of broker in case involving suitability of non-publicly traded REITs.

  • Dismissal on behalf of real estate agent in seller's disclosure case.

  • Dismissal on behalf of supervising life insurance general agent in wrongful termination case.

  • Motion for judgment on the pleadings granted on behalf of title insurance agent in real estate fraud case.

Classes/Seminars Taught

  • Reconciling SEC and FINRA Examinations in Complex Products and Business Practices. Independent Broker Dealer Consortium 10th Annual Risk Management Conference in Amelia Island, Florida, October 2018.

  • Department of Labor Fiduciary Rule, Delaware County Estate Planning Council, September 2017

  • Reducing Regulatory Exposure: Properly Preparing for FINRA and SEC Regulatory Examination, Independent Broker-Dealer Consortium Annual Conference, September 2017

  • Protecting Seniors, A Priority for FINRA, State and Federal Legislators, and Arbitration Panels, 2016 Cadaret, Grant Advisor Forum, October 21, 2016

  • Legislative Update on Issues of Concern to Financial Advisors and Independent Broker Dealers, Financial Services Institute, April 2010

Published Works

  • "FINRA Proposes Rule to Streamline Broker/Dealers’ Oversight of Outside Business Activities", Aon Advisor Solutions, Summer 2018 Newsletter 

  • “Protecting Seniors: A Priority for FINRA, Federal and State Legislators, and Arbitration Panels,” Defense Digest, Vol. 22, No. 3, September 2016

  • "Protecting Seniors: A Priority for FINRA, Federal and State Legislators, and Arbitration Panels," Financial Services Institute newsletter, July 2016

  • Legal Updates for Securities, regular contributor, 2015-present

  • "Bum Rap? Wrap Fee Programs Under Scrutiny," Westlaw Journal: Securities Regulation & Litigation, October 2014

  • Case Law Alerts, regular contributor, 2012-present

  • "FINRA Requests Comment On Brokercheck Enhancements," Defense Digest, Vol. 18, No. 2, June 2012

  • "Covenants Not To Compete: Why You May Not Be Able To Work For Your Employer's Competitors," co-author, AgentsofAmerica.org, January 13, 2009

  • "FINRA Moves to Limit Dispositive Motions In Arbitration," PLUS Journal, Volume XXI, Number 1, January 2008

  • "NASD Approves Merger With The New York Stock Exchange," Defense Digest, Vol. 13, No. 2, June 2007

  • "Injured Plaintiff Has No Direct Action Against Tortfeasor's Insurer for Bad Faith," Pittsburgh Legal Journal

  • "Customer Account Statements Must Include Reminder To Customers To Report Inaccuracies In Their Accounts In Writing," Defense Digest, Vol. 13, No. 2, June 2007

  • "529 Plans: Tax Free Withdrawals Now Permanent, But Regulatory Concerns Remain," Defense Digest, Vol. 13, No. 1, March 2007

  • "U.S. Supreme Court Continues Its Strong Support Of Arbitration," Defense Digest, Vol. 12, No. 2, June 2006

  • "Agreements To Arbitrate Upheld By Pennsylvania State And Eastern District Court Despite Alleged Confidential Relationship Between Plaintiff Investors And Defendant Stockbrokers," Defense Digest, Vol. 11, No. 3, September 2005

  • "Judge Reversed On Order Compelling Court Action To Arbitration," Defense Digest, Vol. 10, No. 1, March 2004

  • "NASD Reminds Firm Of Their Discovery Obligations," Defense Digest, Vol. 10, No. 1, March 2004

  • "NASD Members Are Warned To Give Investors Their Required Breaks," PLUS Journal, September 2003, Vol. XVI, No. 9 and Defense Digest, Vol. 9, No. 2, June 2003

  • "Injured Plaintiff Has No Direct Action Against Tortfeasor's Insurer For 'Bad Faith'," Pittsburgh Legal Journal, June 9, 1998

  • "No Assignment -- No Excess Garnishment," Defense Digest, Vol. 4, No. 3, June 1998

Education

  • Temple University School of Law, Philadelphia, PA (J.D., 1996)

    Honors: Dean's List
    Honors: Vice President, Graduating Class

  • Temple University, Philadelphia, PA (B.A., 1993)

    Honors: Dean's List
    Major: Business Administration
    Major: Finance 

Pages

Law Alerts January 2, 2014
The claimants filed a FINRA Arbitration in Minneapolis, Minnesota, seeking compensatory damages of $12.5 million related to the recommendation of several allegedly unsuitable transactions in real estate investment trusts and other real estate...
Law Alerts April 11, 2013
The respondents were represented by Denis Dice and Joel Wertman of Marshall Dennehey Warner Coleman & Goggin in a claim where the claimant sought damages for an alleged unsuitable recommendation of a variable annuity for the claimant's IRA..., Case Law Alerts - 2nd Quarter 2013
Law Alerts April 11, 2013
A Financial Industry Regulatory Authority hearing panel ruled that Charles Schwab can prohibit its customers from bringing class action lawsuits. The panel said the ban violates FINRA's rules, but that those rules conflict with the Federal..., Case Law Alerts - 2nd Quarter 2013
Law Alerts April 11, 2013
The U.S. Supreme Court rejected the SEC's argument that an agency should be entitled to the protection of the Discovery Rule in an enforcement action seeking a civil penalty for an alleged act of fraud. In Gabelli, the action had been filed..., Case Law Alerts - 2nd Quarter 2013
Law Alerts April 11, 2013
A non-lawyer's representation of a party to a securities arbitration proceeding in Illinois constitutes the unauthorized practice of law. In this matter, the issue was brought to the attention of the Illinois State Bar Association by the FINRA..., Case Law Alerts - 2nd Quarter 2013
Law Alerts July 6, 2012
The Third Circuit found the arbitration agreement to be ambiguous as to whether the designated National Arbitration Forum (NAF) was intended to be the exclusive forum for resolving disputes and was, thus, an integral part of that agreement. The..., Case Law Alert - 3rd Qtr 2012
Law Alerts July 1, 2012
The petitioner sought review of an order of the Securities & Exchange Commission (SEC) affirming the sanctions imposed by FINRA which subjected the petitioner to statutory disqualification for failing to disclose that certain tax liens had been..., Case Law Alert - 3rd Qtr 2012
Law Alerts July 1, 2012
An arbitration panel ordered two claimant investors to pay the broker-dealer respondent $75,000 in legal expenses. The panel called the investors’ claims “frivolous” and a “bad-faith abuse of the FINRA arbitration process...., Case Law Alert - 3rd Qtr 2012
Law Alerts July 1, 2012
The plaintiff Schwab sought a declaratory judgment that the defendant Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) may not enforce FINRA rules regulating broker-dealers to bar a new provision in the plaintiff's customer account agreements..., Case Law Alert - 3rd Qtr 2012
Defense Digest Article June 1, 2012
Federal – Securities & Investment Professional Liability Key Points: BrokerCheck is a database available to the public through FINRA’s website which provides information regarding brokers and FINRA member brokerage firms..., Defense Digest, Vol. 18, No. 2, June 2012

Pages

Apr 11, 2019
We obtained a defense verdict in a binding FINRA arbitration in Boca Raton, Florida. ​Our broker-dealer client was sued in arbitration by two retired broker claimants who sought $5 million in past and future benefits, under a retirement program that...
May 11, 2018
We obtained a defense verdict after a four-day jury trial in northeastern Pennsylvania on behalf of a registered investment advisor and a securities broker dealer who were sued by their former client for investment losses. The plaintiff was a...
Apr 21, 2016
Obtained a dismissal on a directed verdict in a FINRA arbitration in New York. The defense represented a broker-dealer in a dispute with its former customer regarding the unauthorized use of her account information. The claimant was a customer of...
Jun 8, 2015
Obtained a directed verdict on behalf of a broker-dealer and a broker in a FINRA arbitration in New York. The claimant, a sophisticated and wealthy owner of a broker-dealer, alleged that he was being charged an unreasonable mark-up on municipal bond...
September 5, 2019
Samuel E. Cohen, shareholder in the Professional Liability Department at Marshall Dennehey Warner Coleman & Goggin, has been appointed to serve on the Special Olympics PA-Philadelphia Executive Advisory Board for a three-year term. The Executive Advisory Board assists the Special Olympics...

Education

  • Temple University School of Law (J.D., 1996)
  • Temple University (B.B.A., 1993)

Bar Admissions

  • New Jersey, 1996
  • Pennsylvania, 1996

Associations & Memberships

  • Pennsylvania Bar Association
  • Philadelphia Bar Association

Honors & Awards

  • AV® Preeminent™ by Martindale-Hubbell®

    The 2016 Martindale-Hubbell rated attorney list is issued by Internet Brands, Inc. A description of the selection methodology can be found here. No aspect of this advertisement has been approved by the Supreme Court of New Jersey.


  • Pennsylvania Super Lawyers Rising Star, 2005-2008

    The 2016 Super Lawyers list is issued by Thompson Reuters. A description of the selection methodology can be found here. No aspect of this advertisement has been approved by the Supreme Court of New Jersey.


Year Joined Organization: 1997

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