Former Lehman Brothers broker Robert James Reilly of Hingham won’t have to repay a $200,000 signing bonus he received when he joined the failed Wall Street investment bank in 2006, an arbitration panel ruled this week.
The signing bonus was structured as a loan that was supposed to be forgiven in stages if Reilly remained with the company for seven years. But Reilly’s attorney argued that the loan should have been forgiven when Lehman collapsed during the financial crisis four years ago and the assets were sold off to British bank Barclays and other firms.
“He didn’t leave Lehman. Lehman left him,” said Daniel Dwyer, the Boston lawyer who represented Reilly. “Nobody signed up for Lehman thinking it would no longer be here some day.”
Reilly was one of 114 brokers whom Lehman sued for failing to pay back loans after the company collapsed during the financial crisis four years ago. His case was arbitrated by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, the nation’s largest independent regulator for securities firms.
Despite the latest loss, Lehman has had success suing many other former workers. Lehman Brothers won at least 100 percent of the principal in 14 of 18 cases that were tried, settled another 45 cases and is still pursuing another 20 cases. The arbitration board also dismissed Reilly’s counterclaim for $1.5 million in compensatory damages.
“We have a lot of confidence in these cases and their merit,” said Lehman spokeswoman Kimberly Macleod. She declined to comment specifically on Reilly’s case.