REPRESENTATION OF PARTIESFor Claimant Newport Coast Securities, Inc.: Michael S. Colombo, StreetWide Asset Recovery Group, Inc., Hazlet, New Jersey.Respondent Matthew W. Barrett appeared pro se
Apparently, Respondent Barrett is going it sans-lawyer and representing himself.
(a) The parties and their representatives are entitled to attend all hearings. Absent persuasive reasons to the contrary, expert witnesses should be permitted to attend all hearings.
In furtherance of the issues presented by non-lawyer corporate representatives, consider In the Matter of the FINRA Arbitration Between Robert W. Ralston and Susan B. Ralston, Claimants, vs. Syndicated Capital, Inc. and Paul H. Heckler d/b/a Yosemite Capital Management, Respondents (FINRA Arbitration 10-02276, July 7, 2011). In this arbitration, the following representations were noted:8. Do I need a lawyer for arbitration?FINRA rules do not require parties to be represented by attorneys. Parties may appear without attorneys. Effective December 24, 2007 a party may be represented by a non-attorney, unless state law prohibits such representation, the person is currently suspended or barred from the securities industry in any capacity, or the person is currently suspended from the practice of law or disbarred. Please be aware that representation by a non-attorney might be considered to be the unauthorized practice of law in some jurisdictions, so please check with the relevant State Bar (or similar organization) for more information. FINRA Dispute Resolution staff members are often asked to make recommendations or referrals regarding legal representation. In our capacity as impartial administrators of this alternative dispute resolution forum, rather than specific recommendations, we've provided some general information on obtaining legal assistance in our How to Find An Attorney section of our website.
Claimants Robert W. Ralston and Susan B. Ralston were represented by Martin B. Greenbaum, Esq., Greenbaum Law Group, LLC, Newport Beach, California; and Ronald E. Miller, Loss Recovery Center, Inc., Reno, Nevada.Respondent Syndicated Capital, Inc. was represented by Thomas Rittenburg, Esq., Lewis Brisbois Bisgaard & Smith LLP, Los Angeles, Califomia.Respondent Paul H. Heckler d/b/a Yosemite Capital Management was represented by Sylvia M. Scott, Esq., Freeman Freeman & Smiley, LLP, Los Angeles,California.
Non-Lawyer RepresentativeAt the commencement of the evidentiary hearing held on June 6, 2011, before opening statements, counsel for both Respondents orally moved for disqualification of Claimants' representative Ronald E. Miller of the Loss Recovery Center, Inc., Reno, based upon his status as a nonlawyer.Following deliberations, the FINRA Arbitration Panel ruled that Miller:
Claimant Newport Coast Securities asserts through it representative Colombo that it was "trying to get replacement counsel" as late as the day before the first scheduled hearing. Replacement counsel? There is no disclosure in the Decision of legal counsel to start with, unless that was Colombo, which, yet again, raises the seminal question of whether he is a lawyer.On September 27, 2016, the day of the first scheduled hearing, Claimant requested postponement through its representative, Mr. Colombo, due to a "scheduling conflict with their lawyer." The Claimant apologized for the late notice but until yesterday "they were still trying to get replacement counsel."
Not a bad objection. That revelation about Claimant Newport Coast Securities having gone out of business after filing its Statement of Claim was a stunner.Respondent objected on the grounds that the Claimant through its representative, Mr. Colombo, had agreed to the hearing dates back on April 20 during the Initial Pre-hearing Conference, had been duly notified of the date, time, and place of the hearing and no other representative had at any time entered an appearance. He observed that Newport Coast Securities Inc.'s CRD indicated that it was now "out of business." He indicated that he was currently employed and that his time was being wasted by the Claimant's failure to appear.
Seriously? Claimant's representative is supposed to be in a FINRA Arbitration hearing room but, instead, he is on a conference call and won't engage with the FINRA Arbitrator. To be fair, Mr. Colombo did indicate that he "might" be available later in the morning around 11ish. Not saying that I will but it's a possibility . . . a maybe.Mr. Colombo was contacted by FINRA and was afforded an opportunity to reply to Respondent's objection telephonically but declined to do so indicating that he was on another conference call and that he "might be available at 11:00 a.m."
The postponement is denied for lack of good cause shown. No previous postponement had been requested. However, the postponement request was made in an ex parte email to FINRA and at almost literally the last minute. The Arbitrator and Respondent were not made aware of the request until after the appointed time for the hearing and only through efforts to contact Mr. Colombo in the event that he had been delayed on the way to the hearing.Respondent was present at the hearing and ready to proceed. Claimant's request is without merit insofar as Claimant cited only an unspecified scheduling conflict and did not indicate whether the conflict was Mr. Colombo's or another attorney of the Claimant who had not entered an appearance. It must be noted that no witness list was filed by either party and in a telephone conversation with FINRA regarding this matter, the Case Administrator confirmed that Claimant had received the hearing notice (which had been agreed upon during the Initial Pre-hearing Conference) and that Mr. Colombo confirmed that he was prepared to go forward at the scheduled time.
StreetWide brings to the table 26 years of experience in securities industry related collections. Over the course of his career, Michael Colombo, President of StreetWide, has worked closely with both FINRA dispute resolution and the NYSE enforcement and arbitration divisions. He has a proven track record of settling 90% of collections cases before they reach the arbitration stage and a history of recovering an average of 80 to 90 cents on the dollar.Michael has collected successfully "in-house" for firms such as Paine Webber, Gruntal and Co. and GKN Securities. With StreetWide, Michael has established business relationships with and has collected successfully for top tier firms such as Legg Mason Wood Walker, Inc. , Raymond James and Associates, Inc. , Paine Webber, Inc., Morgan Keegan and Co., Inc., Merrill Lynch, Wachovia Securites, MetLife Securities, Harris Investor Services/CSFB, and Ryan Beck and Co, Inc. and Pershing, LLC in addition to FINRA.Thanks to the expertise of Michael and his staff, all industry experienced professionals, StreetWide can lower the legal expenditures for a securities firm up to 70% by working diligently to collect what is owed in a swift and professional manner. StreetWide can offer you the industry knowledge you demand and a focus that is unmatched.StreetWide is a collection agency that works solely in the financial services sector. We specialize in the recovery of securities and securities-fraud related debt from a wide array of sources.
[T]OTAL AMOUNT OWED TO CUSTOMERS, FROM PENDING AND AWARDED ARBITRATIONS, IS $220,628. . ."