Gansler will fight to preserve complaints against stockbrokers

John O'Brien Jul. 21, 2008, 2:00pm


BALTIMORE (Legal Newsline) - Maryland Attorney General Doug Gansler on Monday received the go-ahead to participate in a public records issue, with the intention of protecting the complaints of unhappy consumers against stockbrokers.

In the case, Karsner v. Lothian, Gansler gained authority to seek the prevention of records of consumer complaints against stockbrokers from being wiped out.

"This decision ensures that the State will have the opportunity to protect our citizens from brokers' attempts to purge their records of negative information and deny investors and regulators the ability to make informed decisions concerning those brokers," Gansler said.

"The Court agreed with us that the State has an absolute right to protect its interests and those of its citizens from a broker's attempt to expunge records of proved or alleged professional misconduct."

After an earlier unsuccessful attempt, the Maryland Securities Commission also gained the right to intervene in the case.

The case is on appeal to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. Joseph Karsner is attempting to expunge the settlement of a complaint from the State of Maryland's record.

Karsner has made 11 such requests, but Gansler says those records are public information needed by investors who wish to assess a broker's credibility.

Karsner, an insurance agent, recommended mutual funds that invested in unsafe stocks, the Maryland Securities Commission feels.

Gansler said the suit will examine if the court can grant an arbitration panel's recommendation of expungement.

From Legal Newsline: Reach John O'Brien by e-mail at

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