Contrasting Court and Arbitration- TaldoneLaw

Most security cases must be submitted to arbitration because customers of financial institutions enter into a binding arbitration agreement to submit any disputes they have with their financial institutions to arbitration, usually before FINRA. FINRA is an acronym that stands for Financial Industry Regulatory Authority.

Arbitration is just like a courtroom trial except instead of a judge and jury you get a panel of one to three arbitrators which act as both judge and jury. They hear and weigh the arguments and evidence of both sides of a case, then render a binding decision. The arbitrators generally include at least one “industry” person and two non-industry. This may include accountants, attorneys, sales representatives, bankers, educators, retired judges and other professionals. Unlike court proceedings, arbitration usually doesn’t involve depositions, motions, or appeals. It’s usually much faster and cheaper than civil court. The average length of time is 12 months from filing to first hearing versus more than two years in state or federal court.

Similar to court, FINRA charges its own filing fee which usually is in the range of $1000 to $1600. The greater the amount of your claim, the greater your filing and administrative fees will be. If the case settles, a portion of this fee may be returned.

Unlike Court, there is also a fee charged by FINRA for the hearing which includes the payment for the arbitrators’ services and the room where the hearing takes place.

Although our initial consultation is free, you can expect to incur expenses related to preparing a damages exhibit for purposes of mediation and/or arbitration. If the case does not settle (the majority do) then an expert witnesses may have to be retained to testify on your behalf. Though we are essentially experts ourselves, we–as your attorneys–cannot testify. We have retained the services of numerous nationally recognized experts in the securities industry. We also charge a one time “sundry costs” fee for courier and mailing costs, photocopying costs and any other incidental expenses incurred by Shepherd, Smith & Edwards in pursuit of a client’s claim. Other legal fees will be discussed in advance.

According to the Securities Arbitration Commentator, a periodical publication which has studied the statistics of securities arbitration cases, 80% of all customer cases settle in favor of the investor prior to the rendering of an arbitration award. Over half of the remaining 20% that do not settle prior to arbitration result in an award to the customer. The Law Offices of Nicholas Taldone cannot provide assurance that there will be a recovery in any arbitration proceeding. However our decision to accept a case is our belief that it has merit and that some recovery of money is warranted.

It’s up to you. Consider that you’ll be asked to come up with copies of your financial records and tax returns. There are also other questions about your background and experience that must be answered. You must decide if you want the broker to get away with his or her conduct and the way he or she treated you.