August 11, 2016
The purpose of this letter is to provide the Securities and Exchange Commission with comments on the above referenced proposed rule change which was filed by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, Inc. (FINRA) on June August 3, 2016.
I am an attorney whose practice is exclusively devoted to the representation of individual and institutional investors in their disputes with the securities industry. Moreover, I am a former President and current Director Emeritus of the Public Investors Arbitration Bar Association (PIABA) the former Chairman of FINRAs National Arbitration and Mediation Committee (NAMC) and a current public member of the NAMC the former Chairman of FINRAs Discovery Task Force Committee (DTFC) and a former member of the Securities Investor Protection Corporation (SIPC) Modernization Task Force.
It is my understanding that the proposed amendment would amend the FINRA Code so as to provide that arbitrators may act upon a motion to dismiss a party or claim prior to the conclusion of a partys case in chief if the arbitrators determine that the non-moving party previously brought a claim regarding the same dispute against the same party, and the dispute was fully and finally adjudicated on the merits and memorialized in an order, judgment, award, or decision.
It is my opinion that the proposed amendments would be a fair, equitable and reasonable approach and should be approved by the SEC on an expedited basis.
Notwithstanding my opinion, however, it must be noted that a similar process does not exist in the FINRA Code which would permit a Claimant to file a motion for summary judgment. This is a disparity that must be corrected so that the playing field in the securities arbitration arena is level and equal for all of the participants in the forum.
Thank you for providing me with the opportunity to submit my comments on this rule filing.