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Is Celiac Disease at the Heart of Lawsuit Against Merrill Lynch?

Kringel claims that the sabotage cost him annual income in excess of $250,000, and that the actions were taken deliberately as retaliation for Kringel's three-month leave.


Photo: CC--See Ming Lee

Celiac.com 10/11/2017 - A Merrill Lynch broker in Denver has sued the firm in federal court, claiming that its systemic "sabotage" of his relationship with clients during and following two medical leaves have cost him hundreds of thousands of dollars.

In a case filed this summer in federal court in Colorado, Kirk Kringel, a broker with Merrill since 2010, alleges that the company violated his rights under the Family Medical Leave Act by retaliating against him for taking the two medical leaves, including one that was related to celiac disease.

A seasoned broker, Mr. Kringel worked previously with Morgan Stanley and Dean Witter for nearly 15 years before joining Merrill Lynch. According to the complaint, colleagues and managers at Merrill "systematically interfered with and sabotaged Kringel's relationships with his clients by failing to service some of his clients, permanently re-assigning some of his clients to other financial advisors, and providing misinformation to his clients that undermined his relationships."

Kringel claims that the sabotage cost him annual income in excess of $250,000, and that the actions were taken deliberately as retaliation for Kringel's three-month leave in 2015 and an unpaid medical leave that he began in February 2017. Kringel alleges in the suit that the losses to his accounts were engineered by a former business partner and colleague who moved with him to Merrill, and is claiming that the alleged violation of federal FMLA law justifies a courtroom trial.

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If successful, he will avoid arbitration, which would be the standard course for such complaints.

Merrill Lynch spokesman Bill Halldin disputed the allegations on behalf of the company, but offered no comment on whether it will seek to have the complaint moved to arbitration.

Neither Kringel, nor his lawyers at the firm of Moye, White offered further comment.

Stay tuned for more on Mr. Kringel's efforts, and on legal issues regarding celiac disease and employment, disability, and the like.

Read more at Advisorhub.com

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