Citi ordered to pay actor Larry Hagman $11.5 million

Thu Oct 7, 2010 5:25pm EDT
 
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By Joseph A. Giannone

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Larry Hagman, the actor who played the villainous J.R. Ewing in the 1980s TV show "Dallas," has won his case that he was victimized by Citigroup Inc, and the bank was ordered to pay over $11 million in damages.

The total award includes $10 million in punitive damages that Citi must pay to charities selected by Hagman, $1.1 million in compensatory damages and nearly $440,000 in legal fees.

Hagman, who also played astronaut Anthony Nelson in "I Dream of Jeannie" in the 1960s TV show, had requested $1.35 million in damages. He could not be reached for comment.

Hagman accused Citi in May 2009 of a breach of fiduciary duty and breach of contract, fraud by misrepresentation and omission, failure to supervise and violation of federal and state law, according to the ruling by an arbitration panel of FINRA, a self-regulatory body of the U.S. financial industry.

The allegations stemmed from unspecified securities held in Citi accounts, as well as the purchase of a life insurance policy.

Hagman received the unusually large award after the arbitrators found Citigroup Global Markets "engaged in serious misconduct," meeting FINRA's standards for punitive damages, the ruling said.

"We are disappointed and disagree with the panel's finding and we are reviewing our options," said Citigroup spokesman Alex Samuelson.

Hagman, who turned 79 last month, continues to appear on TV and in movies, including the 1998 political spoof "Primary Colors." More recently he has played off his role as a Texas oilman to become a spokesman for a solar energy company.   Continued...