The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority is proposing a rule modification that would accelerate arbitration proceedings in cases where the parties are over 75 years old or are seriously ill. The authority said it wants to ensure that these parties can participate meaningfully in FINRA arbitration and obtain a fair outcome.
In Regulatory Notice 22-09, FINRA said it is seeking feedback on its proposal to add a new rule to the Codes of Arbitration Procedure. The rule would allow requests for accelerated processing by those over 75 or who can certify that based on their medical diagnosis and prognosis, accelerated processing is necessary to prevent prejudicing their interest in the arbitration.
FINRA said it would be up to the Director of Dispute Resolution Services to decide whether the requesting party meets those requirements. If the parties qualify, the proposal would shorten the timeframe for completing the arbitration in a number of ways.
A panel in an accelerated case would endeavor to render its award within 10 months or less and set discovery, briefing and motions deadlines, and schedule hearing sessions in line with this goal. In addition, deadlines would be shortened for answering a statement of claim and responding to a third party claim. The deadline would also be shortened for parties to return the ranked arbitrator lists to FINRA staff, and deadlines would be shortened for responding to discovery requests.
Currently, FINRA has a voluntary program for accelerating arbitration proceedings for parties at least 65 years or old or who are seriously ill. But the authority said the current program does not include shortened, rule-based case processing deadlines or instruct arbitrators on how quickly arbitration should be completed.
The authority said it is encouraging all interested parties to submit their comments, which must be received by May 16.
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