J.R. Ewing hits a gusher: $11.5M arbitration award

Former "Dallas' star Larry Hagman wins Finra claim against Citi

Oct 10, 2010 @ 12:01 am

By Bruce Kelly

Larry Hagman, the actor best known for portraying the ruthless J.R. Ewing on the 1980s hit show “Dallas,” has won an $11.5 million arbitration claim against Citigroup Global Markets Inc.

The claim stemmed from unspecified securities in accounts he controlled and the purchase of a life insurance policy, according to the arbitration award.

On Oct. 6, a three-member Financial Industry Regulatory Authority Inc. panel awarded Mr. Hagman, two trusts in his name and two retirement accounts in his name the following: $1.1 million in compensatory damages and $440,000 in legal fees, as well as $10 million in punitive damages to be paid to a charity of his choice.

“We are disappointed and disagree with the panel's finding, and are reviewing our options,” said Citigroup spokesman Alexander Samuelson.

Mr. Hagman, 79, filed the Finra arbitration claim in May 2009. As is common in such suits, he alleged breach of fiduciary duty and breach of written contract, along with fraud by misrepresentation and omission, and a failure to supervise.

The three arbitrators gave no reasoning for the award but cited the Securities Industry Conference on Arbitration manual in its decision to award punitive damages.

“Punitive damages are not in-tended to right a wrong but are intended to punish the wrongdoer and to deter future wrongdoing,” the citation said. “Generally, you may award punitive damages if the claimant requests it, and the respondent has engaged in serious misconduct that meets the standards for such an award.”

Philip Aidikoff, Mr. Hagman's attorney in the matter, did not return calls seeking comment.

Mr. Hagman's manager, Gene Yussem, said he had no comment on the decision. It's a “personal matter,” he said.

E-mail Bruce Kelly at bkelly@investmentnews.com.

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