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Will Ferrell Loses $18 Million Claim Against JPMorgan Unit

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Nov. 19 (Bloomberg) -- A securities arbitration panel rejected an $18 million claim by a group of investors including actors Will Ferrell and Larry David against a unit of JPMorgan Chase & Co., ordering instead that they reimburse the bank for more than $600,000 in legal costs.

The two, along with Ferrell’s wife, Viveca Paulin, and Los Angeles business manager Matt Lichtenberg, filed a complaint against J.P. Morgan Securities with the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority. They said that the brokerage, originally a component of Bear Stearns & Co. Inc., made unauthorized investments in “preferred securities,” which the complaint didn’t specify.

A three-member arbitration panel denied the claim “in its entirety” Nov. 12, according to documents released by Finra. The panel told the comedians’ group to pay $600,000 in J.P. Morgan’s legal costs, adding $22,500 “for discovery abuse and failure to comply with the forum’s discovery rules and procedures.” The award documents said the group repeatedly failed to produce required documentation quickly enough.

Ferrell is a former “Saturday Night Live” performer whose movies include “Talladega Nights.” David was a co-creator of the “Seinfeld” show who went on to star in his own series, “Curb Your Enthusiasm.” David’s involvement in the arbitration matter came through the David Living Trust, according to the Finra documents.

The documents said Ferrell and the others accused J.P. Morgan of engaging in “unauthorized and unsuitable purchases of unspecified preferred securities with regard to their respective accounts.”

J.P. Morgan declined comment on the decision. Lichtenberg didn’t respond to a request for comment.

To contact the reporter on this story: Jesse Hamilton in Washington, D.C. jhamilton33@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Lawrence Roberts at lroberts13@bloomberg.net.

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