Securities arbitration advocacy and reform have been a focus of the founding attorneys at Eppenstein and Eppenstein for decades. We have devoted considerable time and effort over the years to level the playing field for investors who by law have to bring their securities arbitration and commodities arbitration claims at brokerage industry forums such as FINRA (Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, a consolidation of the NASD (National Association of Securities Dealers) and NYSE (New York Stock Exchange) arbitration departments) and the NFA (National Futures Association).
As early as 1988, the firm testified before two Congressional sub-committees and assisted Congress in drafting legislation (H.R, 4960) which would have returned to investors the right to decide whether to go to court or arbitration to resolve their securities arbitration disputes. In 2007, Ted Eppenstein testified before the U.S. Congress House Judiciary Committee, Subcommittee on Commercial and Administrative Law at hearings on H.R. 3010, the “Arbitration Fairness Act of 2007.” Ted’s Written Statement to Congress backing investor rights can be viewed on the Subcommittee’s Web site at http://judiciary.house.gov/media/pdfs/Eppenstein071025.pdf. A copy of Ted’s Written Statement (without exhibits) can be viewed here.
Investors' Right to go to Court
Ted Eppenstein is the first investor attorney to urge Congress to include investors as a protected class of consumer under the Act, return to public investors the right to go to court if they choose, and establish a totally independent arbitration forum outside the industry for adjudication of public investors’ securities fraud, hedge fund fraud and other investor v. brokerage industry disputes.
As a Public Member for ten years of the SICA committee (Securities Industry Conference on Arbitration) Ted Eppenstein has worked diligently with the SRO’s and SEC as an advocate for investors and made numerous proposals and recommendations to benefit investors:
Securities Arbitration Reform Initiatives
- To eliminate mandatory arbitration in securities disputes and return to investors the choice of going to court or securities arbitration
- To require that public arbitrators have no ties to the securities industry
- To establish an alternative arbitration forum totally independent from the securities industry to resolve investors’ cases
- To prohibit dispositive motions to dismiss in securities arbitration
- To provide for mandatory expedited procedures and scheduling deadlines in the forum rules for elderly, ill or infirm parties
- To provide for parties to confer in advance to select arbitrators in their case by mutual “arbitrator by agreement”
- To change the Uniform Code of Arbitration to allow each party one peremptory challenge per case for an arbitrator “administratively appointed” by the arbitration forum
- To grant to investors a tolling of the 20 day period of time during which the parties must evaluate and return lists from which to select a panel of arbitrators to enable investors to gather pertinent information about the proposed arbitrators, such as conflicts of interest
- To grant to investors unlimited strikes from a proposed list of arbitrators at the beginning of a case during the process know as arbitrator List Selection
- To provide for a limited second round of arbitrator selection in the event the forum is unable to compose a panel from the first round of selection
- To provide for arbitrator voir dire during arbitrator selection
- To require a Pre-Hearing Conference in all cases
- To prohibit caps on punitive damages
- To curb the industry practice of broker-dealers in securities arbitration requiring the dismissal of all claims against the individual registered representative as a condition of settlement
- To provide that all securities arbitration claims filed against brokers and other registered personnel should be reviewed for possible disciplinary investigation prior to the conclusion of an arbitration
- To prohibit confidential treatment of settlements which might buy confidentiality of, for example, fraudulent practices
- To require the payment or bonding of an arbitration award within 30 days of its issuance
- To provide for arbitrator removal criteria for non-disclosure of conflicts of interest and alleged misconduct
- To revise the Arbitrator’s Manual to clarify issues involving discoverable items that are sent and stored electronically
- To instruct the arbitrators that investors should have the presumptive right to have the attendance and assistance of a family member, friend or advisor at the hearings
- For a Notice to Members of the industry precluding firms from denying, via a private arbitration agreement, an employee’s right to seek arbitration of all claims at an SRO, and allowing employees to require an arbitration at an SRO irrespective of whether there is an arbitration agreement
Eppenstein and Eppenstein’s ongoing securities arbitration advocacy has helped to define the firm’s mission of providing investors with the aggressive, experienced and comprehensive strategies necessary for successful recoveries in securities arbitration.
Visit the Securities Fraud Hotline or our main web site http://www.eppensteinlaw.com!