Edward Jones has won a temporary restraining order against Michael Peterson, a former advisor in its Henderson, Nev. branch who left for Ameriprise Financial last month.

The St. Louis-based broker-dealer had sought a temporary restraining order and a preliminary injunction against Peterson, as previously reported. The firm had alleged that Peterson printed out client information prior to his departure and contacted clients after he moved to Ameriprise. The complaint also states that 11 of Peterson’s clients, whose assets totaled about $15 million of the $100 million in assets managed by the branch, chose to follow him.

In an order dated November 12, a federal judge granted Edward Jones’ request for a temporary restraining order and set a court hearing on the preliminary injunction for November 25, 2019.

“It is further ordered that pending the preliminary injunction hearing, Peterson is temporarily restrained from directly or indirectly soliciting, by mail, phone, electronic communication, personal meeting, or any other means, any current customer of Edward Jones who Peterson served or whose name became known to Peterson during his employment with Edward Jones,” the November 12 order reads.

Just a day later, Peterson filed a motion to dissolve the restraining order and sought expedited treatment for the lawsuit. Alternatively, he also sought a $50,000 bond from Edward Jones.

“Mr. Peterson has established that he is likely to suffer great harm as a result of the TRO, and a substantial bond should be required. Plaintiff is one of the country’s largest broker dealers with vast resources, and Mr. Peterson is an individual whose livelihood and ability to support his family depends on the reputation he has worked hard to build,” says Peterson’s motion as the reason behind seeking a bond.

Peterson in his motion says none of the evidence offered by Edward Jones was based on personal or direct knowledge. He says neither of the two people who worked with him nor his supervisor submitted any testimony as to missing documents. He also adds in his motion that “none of the customers discussed in the hearsay affidavit submitted by the junior advisor were reported to have told Edward Jones that Mr. Peterson in any way "solicited" them to his new firm.”

“It is clear the purpose of these proceedings was not to secure the return of a confidential document taken by Mr. Peterson — as no such document exists. Rather the purpose was to sully Mr. Peterson’s reputation, interfere with his ability to serve clients who have asked him to do so, and sound a warning to other Edward Jones advisors who may dare to seek employment elsewhere. Unfortunately that unscrupulous purpose is being achieved,” says Peterson in his motion.

Edward Jones HQ, St. Louis (pic credit: Jim Wolfe)

Edward Jones also responded to the motion to dissolve the TRO. On November 14, the federal judge decided against dissolving the TRO and modifying it to include the bond.

“Because the temporary restraining order requires only that Peterson continue to abide by the terms of his employment contract, and for the reasons set forth in the court’s November 12, 2019 order, there is unlikely to be any harm to Peterson should it later be determined that the temporary restraining order [was] improperly issued. The court therefore declines to modify the temporary restraining order to require a bond at this time,” reads the order.

The court will hear both motions, on the preliminary injunction as well as that to dissolve the TRO, on November 25.