August 19, 2010
I am an attorney in Atlanta, Georgia, and my practice areas include the representation of public customers in securities arbitrations.
I am in agreement with and fully adopt the comment letter submitted August 15, 2010 by Prof. Seth Lipner. The Discovery Guide wrongly assumes that all investor claims fall into neatly defined categories, and that standard lists of documents will therefore be relevant and presumptively discoverable. Each investors claim is fact specific, and the cookie-cutter approach of the Guide ignores that reality.
Finally, the federal securities laws and regulatory scheme reject the concept of "caveat emptor" and, instead, as a matter of public policy, require full disclosure and a high standard of business ethics in the securities industry. In the words of the Supreme Court, the goal is to substitute a philosophy of full disclosure for the philosophy of caveat emptor. Affiliated Ute Citizens v. United States, 406 U.S. 128, 151 (1972), quoting SEC v. Capital Gains Research Bureau, 375 U.S. 180, 186 (1963). The Guides litany of the intrusive discovery required from investors who challenge the decisions made by their financial advisors runs counter to that fundamental policy decision. The Guide countenances an arbitration process where the investor is under attack for trusting and relying on their financial advisor, who of course strongly encouraged the investor to place complete faith and trust in them. That result is contrary to the spirit of the federal securities laws, and does little to encourage investor faith and confidence in the financial industry.
Robert C. Port, Esq.
Cohen Goldstein Port Gottlieb, LLP
990 Hammond Drive
Atlanta, Georgia 30328