Merrill defeats advisers attempt to sue as group

By Gary Linnell

ProWEB Wire (Industry News)

Merrill Lynch & Co recently won a U.S. judge's ruling that denied a bid by 17 black financial advisers for group status in a five-year-old discrimination case.

In 2005, broker George McReynolds sued, alleging that Merrill Lynch's practices and procedures favored white financial advisers, impairing the ability of their black counterparts to make similar incomes.

However, U.S. District Judge Robert W. Gettleman recently rejected the bid for certification as a group lawsuit by McReynolds and 16 other advisers who have since joined the case.

According to the judge, the plaintiffs' statistical evidence alone is insufficient to establish company-wide discrimination affecting every member of the proposed class the same way. He ruled that each individual's claim must be tried to a jury.