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St. Petersburg, Florida

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Bob Carroll
Bob Carroll
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$1.5 Billion Verdict Against Morgan Stanley – Ouch!

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I have never met Palm Beach County Circuit Judge Elizabeth T. Maass, but she definitely takes her orders seriously. And, I think Morgan Stanley will be doing the same from now on. After Morgan Stanley violated her discovery order, Judge Maass muzzled the investment house at a recent trial. After the jury returned a $1.5 Billion verdict Law.com reports Morgan Stanley is clear the judge erred. How else can its officers go to sleep at night?

Financial services giant Morgan Stanley claims in an appeal that Palm Beach County Circuit Judge Elizabeth T. Maass made several critical errors that led to the record $1.5 billion civil fraud verdict against the New York-based company earlier this year.

Last June, Manhattan billionaire businessman Ronald O. Perelman won the huge verdict — which included $850 million in punitive damages — based on Morgan Stanley’s role in a 1998 deal. The award is thought to be the largest non-class action judgment in Florida history. Morgan Stanley claims it would constitute 30 percent of the company’s net worth.

Before trial, Judge Maass issued an order for partial summary judgment based on a violation of her discovery order. Her ruling prevented Morgan Stanley from disputing any of the facts alleged by Perelman.