JPMorgan Wins Case Against Trader Over Decimal Point Dispute

Bloomberg | March 26, 2012
By Jeremy Hodges

JPMorgan Chase & Co. doesn’t have to pay a trader 580,000 pounds ($921,000) after a missing decimal point in an employment contract led him to believe his salary would be 10 times what was offered, a London court ruled.

Kai Herbert, a Switzerland-based currency trader, sued JPMorgan for lost earnings claiming he signed a contract to relocate to Johannesburg for a salary of 24 million rand ($3.1 million). JPMorgan said there was a typographical error and the figure should have been 2.4 million rand.

“Herbert took the commercial risk of accepting the offer, knowing full well that the figure was an error,” Judge Henry Globe said in today’s judgment.

The trader resigned from UBS AG in June 2010 following the offer from New York-based JPMorgan to relocate to South Africa. Herbert didn’t report for work after discovering the discrepancy and JPMorgan rescinded the employment offer in December 2010.

Herbert has been unemployed since, other than eight months at Credit Suisse Group AG, where he was fired in a round of job cuts in November. Banks globally have cut about 196,000 jobs since the start of 2011, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
‘Eyes Wide Open’

“Herbert, with his eyes wide open, took a chance and it has not worked out for him,” Charles Ciumei, a lawyer for JPMorgan, said in court.

Herbert originally sought more than 2 million pounds, Globe said. That figure subsequently fell to just over 1 million pounds and finally to 580,000 pounds.

“There has been gross exaggeration in relation to the claim,” Globe said and ordered that Herbert pay costs of 85,000 pounds within 28 days. Herbert wasn’t present for the verdict.

Kate Haywood, a spokeswoman for JPMorgan declined to comment. Dale Langley, Herbert’s lawyer, wasn’t immediately available to comment.

The case is Herbert v. JPMorgan, High Court of Justice Queen’s Bench Division, No. HQ11X02595.