Pretzel & Stouffer

Complete Victory Achieved For Ruff Trial Team In Defense Of Former President Of New York Stock Exchange

More than a decade long saga involving the founding of Archipelago comes to its conclusion in a complete victory for our client, after plaintiff exhausts his appeals. Plaintiff failed to seek review by the United States Supreme Court of an Illinois Appellate Court Decision reversing an $11 million judgment against a former president of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) and two of his partners.

The appeal arose from a fraud claim originally tried before a Cook County jury in which the Plaintiff had requested $100 million. The plaintiff, a former commodities trader, had partnered with the defendants to form a company called Chicago Trading and Arbitrage, which allowed traders to submit stock orders electronically. The defendants later formed a second company called Archipelago — without the plaintiff —' that also offered electronic trading. Archipelago eventually merged with the NYSE in a lucrative deal, and the plaintiff claimed he was defrauded out of his share of the business opportunity.

At trial, Mr. Ruff argued that the settlement of a 1998 lawsuit arising out of Chicago Trading and Arbitrage’s dissolution had released the plaintiff’s claim. The trial court disagreed and prevented Mr. Ruff from questioning the plaintiff about the release and similar allegations made in the previous lawsuit. The trial court also shifted the burden of proof to the defense, adding a significant obstacle. Despite this and the fact that the plaintiff requested more than $100 million in damages, the jury awarded just $11 million in the case.

In a rare move, the appellate court quoted Mr. Ruff’s plea to the trial court in support of its reversal. Mr. Ruff argued that by preventing him from questioning the plaintiff regarding the earlier lawsuit and release, the trial court “has essentially allowed [the plaintiff] to perjure himself” and “[denied] the defendants a fair opportunity to challenge [the plaintiff] on this point.” Through rigorous defense at trial in the face of major setbacks, the Pretzel trial team protected its clients’ interests so that the proper result could ultimately be achieved.

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