Wells Fargo Bank, N.A. v. Williams et al

Filing 62

MEMORANDUM OPINION. Signed by Judge Gregory A. Presnell on 6/6/2017. Copies mailed. (LAM)

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UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT MIDDLE DISTRICT OF FLORIDA ORLANDO DIVISION WELLS FARGO BANK, N.A., Plaintiff, v. Case No: 6:16-cv-1877-Orl-31GJK THERESA A. WILLIAMS and DAVID J. STELLA, Defendants. MEMORANDUM OPINION On January 27, 2017, the Court granted Defendants’ Motion to Compel Arbitration (Doc. 13). In that order, the Court offered to issue a written opinion should either party request one (Doc. 58 at 2 n.2). Defendants have requested such an opinion (Doc. 59). Plaintiff Wells Fargo Bank, N.A. (“Wells Fargo”) brought this action against Defendants, former employees of the bank, for violation of the non-solicitation and non-disclosure provisions of the contract between them (Doc. 1, Ex. 3).1 Section IV of the contract has a provision that, upon termination, prohibits the employee from soliciting the bank’s customers for a period of one year. Wells Fargo seeks to enforce that provision. The contract also has an arbitration provision. Section VIII provides in pertinent part that: “If I am an employee whose registration…is held by the Firm, I understand that…any dispute between myself and the Firm and/or any of its affiliates…arising out of this agreement…will be submitted to binding arbitration…” 1 Exhibit 3 is the contract between Wells Fargo and Defendant Williams. Presumably, Defendant Stella signed the same document (Doc. 26 at 4 n.4). Defendants were employees of Wells Fargo, whose registration was held by Wells Fargo Advisors, LLC (“Advisors”), a broker-dealer affiliate of Wells Fargo. Section 1 of the contract identifies Advisors as the “Firm.”2 Thus, since this dispute is between the defendant employees and the bank (an affiliate of the “Firm”), it is subject to the FINRA arbitration provision. DONE and ORDERED in Chambers, Orlando, Florida on June 6, 2017.   Copies furnished to: Counsel of Record Unrepresented Party 2 Section 1 of the contract provides that in consideration of employment by a Wells Fargo Company [the “Bank”], allowing me to act as a registered representative of a broker-dealer affiliate (the “Firm”), I agree as follows…” -2-

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