No estoppel, so no arbitration

finraSeveral investors in the ill-fated Stanford scheme sued Pershing LLC, who provided clearing services to the Stanford Group.  Many of the investors had contracts with Pershing that required arbitration with FINRA, but one group did not, and sought to compel arbitration based on estoppel theories.  As to a “direct benefits” theory, the Fifth Circuit found “no evidence that Pershing was aware that [the investors] had executed contracts to purchase CDs from the Stanford entities,” reminding that “a nonsignatory’s generalized sense that the two contracting parties have a course of dealing will not satisfy this requirement.”  Accordingly, the Court affirmed the denial of the plaintiffs’ motion to compel arbitration.

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