March 24, 2008
Please note my joinder, generally, in the recent comment submitted by Prof. Seth Lipner.
I am a lawyer who has represented investor-customers for over 20 years. I am also an active member of the Public Investors Arbitration Bar Association (PIABA).
I know from my professional experience in representing claimant-investors that the dismissal practice has been frequently abused over many years in self-regulated securities industry forums -- most often by both respondents and by erring arbitration panel members. Given the standard of review ("willful disregard") on appeal, errors in granting these often-spurious motions to dismiss in effect preclude ANY appellate review as to the dismissal of claims which should have survived motions to dismiss.
There should be written, specific guidelines and safe-guards against these abusive dismissal practices, i.e. a statement of when and under what limited, specific circumstances a motion to dismiss may or should be granted. In my view, such written guidelines are critical to establishing a procedure which will facilitate both timely and just rulings on the merits of investors' claims -- and others --brought in the FINRA forum. Further, this or related rules should require that a dismissal of claims be in writing and signed by the members of the arbitration panel. Further, the Rules should require (without exception) that the written ruling dismissing a claim or defense must contain a detailed statement of the specific reasons for the dismissal. - NHS.