Wells Fargo & Co. filed a lawsuit in Los Angeles Superior Court this week, alleging that New York-based Merrill Lynch & Co. recruited a top broker in order to gain the client list she cultivated while at the bank.

The suit was filed before Superior Court Judge Robert H. O'Brien and alleges that Catherine A. Miller, a formerWells broker, took a client list of 500 names, representing 1,000 accounts, when she recently took a job at Merrill.

A Wells spokeswoman confirmed that the suit had been filed but said it is not the San Francisco-based bank's policy to comment on pending litigation.

A Merrill spokesman said that the firm "absolutely denies any allegation of wrongdoing or inappropriate conduct."

According to court documents, the judge denied a number of requests by Wells, including a request for a temporary restraining order to prevent Merrill from contacting customers Ms. Miller has cultivated while working at Wells. The judge did, however, request that Ms. Miller return the Rolodex containing client names to Wells Fargo.

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