August 5, 2016
I am a shareholder and Chair of the Litigation Practice Group at McCausland Keen Buckman. I devote a substantial part of my practice to representing individuals and institutions in disputes with the financial service industry, including FINRA members. I am a former member of FINRA's National Arbitration and Mediation Committee and I currently serve as Chair of FINRA's Discovery Task Force.
I write this letter in full support of the above referenced proposed rule change. It is a common practice that public customers elect the all-public panel option, which results in striking all or most of the non-public list. In this instance, under the current rule, after the parties each exercise their four strikes from the chair and public lists of ten each, only a handful of arbitrators remains available to serve. In cases with multiple separately represented claimants or respondents exercising separate challenges, this problem becomes exacerbated.
By increasing the number of arbitrators on the public list,
the proposed rule decreases the likelihood of cram down arbitrators appointed without input from the parties. The proposed rule will greatly enhance the fairness of the forum to both the investing public and FINRA members. I urge the Commission to approve the proposed rule on an expedited basis.
Thank you for your consideration of my thoughts.