During the evidentiary hearing, Claimants' counsel made a Motion to Amend the Statement of Claim to Conform to the Evidence pursuant to Rule 12309(b). Claimants identified the Newly Identified Respondents as the former "John Doe" respondents. The Panel determined to grant Claimants' motion.On July 20, 2016, the Panel issued the following Order:The Statement of Claim in this matter named but did not identify John Doe respondents. By identifying three such respondents at hearing - Anthony Pizelo, William Madison Swayne II and WMS Securities, Inc. - Claimant initiated and Respondent William Madison Swain [sic] III answered, de facto, a Rule 12309(c) Motion to Amend Pleadings to Add Parties. This Motion is granted with respect to these three individuals.On August 3, 2016, Claimants submitted their Statement of Claim to Conform to the Evidence and a letter in response to the Panel's Order dated July 20, 2016. In their letter, Claimants asserted that they were not adding "new parties" under Rule 12309(c) because the Newly Identified Respondents were previously named as "John Does"; had notice of the action; understood their involvement in the transaction; and had an opportunity to present their evidence. In their assertion, Claimants relied on the judicial doctrine of "virtual representation".On August 11, 2016, Pizelo submitted a response opposing Claimants' letter and identification of the Newly Identified Respondents, citing due process concerns and a conflict of interest with Claimants' counsel. On August 12, 2016, Swayne III also submitted a response opposing Claimants' letter on the basis of due process concerns. On August 17, 2016, Claimants submitted a reply responding to Pizelo's conflict of interest allegation and reasserting satisfaction of due process.On August 24, 2016, Swayne II and WMS Securities, Inc. submitted an objection to Claimants' post-evidentiary oral Motion to Amend the Statement of Claim to Conform to the Evidence, on the basis that Swayne II and WMS Securities, Inc. were not parties to the arbitration, were never given proper notice of Claimants' motion, and did not have the opportunity to present a defense or participate in the hearing. On September 6, 2016, Claimants submitted a response to Swayne II and WMS Securities, Inc.'s objection stating that the matter had already been argued and decided by the Panel, and that notice and due process had been satisfied. On September 12, 2016, Swayne II and WMS Securities, Inc. submitted a reply in support of their objection on the basis that granting the motion would cause extreme prejudice to the Newly Identified Respondents. On September 13, 2016, Claimants' counsel submitted a sur-reply disputing the assertions in Swayne II and WMS Securities, Inc.'s objection. On September 13, 2016, Swayne II and WMS Securities, Inc.'s counsel submitted a request that Claimants' letter dated September 13, 2016 be disregarded on the basis that FINRA never gave authorization that a reply to a reply could be filed.
All parties knew what was going on at the FINRA hearings and that control persons were included. All of the Petitioners submitted their arguments to the panel and then to the director of FINRA. Petitioners could have requested that the Panel reopen the evidentiary hearing pursuant to FINRA Rule 12609, but did not.
SIDE BAR: FINRA Rule 12609. Reopening the RecordThe panel may reopen the record on its own initiative or upon motion of any party at any time before the award is rendered, unless prohibited by applicable law.
1. Petitioner Pizelo was former CEO of Pacific West Securities, Inc. ("Pac West") and actively represented Pac West during at least one, if not more, pre-hearing conferences.2. Petitioner Swayne III testified under oath at the Arbitration hearing that WMS Financial Planners, Inc. ("WMS") was a d/b/a of himself and that his father, Petitioner Swayne II, was CEO of WMS. Moreover, Petitioners Pizelo and Swayne II were licensed at the time of the underlying sale.
exceeded its powers in granting Investors' motion to identify the "John Does" as Pizelo, Swayne II, and WMS. Specifically, Appellants contend the trial court erred in refusing to vacate the arbitration award because (1) the Panel violated due process protections and FINRA rules, (2) the Panel violated state and federal principles of "John Doe" pleading, and (3) there was no agreement to arbitrate before FINRA.
The Panel expressly determined that "upon evidence produced during the hearing," Pizelo, Swayne II, and WMS "had sufficient notice." The Panel was not required to explain its rationale for this decision, as the parties did not request an "explained decision" pursuant to FINRA Rule 12904(g). We note, however, that the record shows Pizelo was former CEO of PacWest, and that Swayne Ill testified under oath at the evidentiary hearing that WMS was a d/b/a of himself and that his father, Swayne II, was CEO of WMS. Upon learning this information at the hearing, Investors immediately moved to identify the "John Does" in their claim. Because the newly identified parties were not present at the evidentiary hearing, strict procedural compliance with FINRA Rules 12309(b) and 12503 was not possible. We cannot say this decision was irrational or made in manifest disregard of the law. Nor can we say the trial court erred in concluding "[a]ll parties knew what was going on at the FINRA hearings and that control persons were included.". . .Appellants further contend that post-evidentiary amendments that add new parties in a lawsuit violate due process when liability is imposed without providing the new parties with an opportunity to be heard. However, the record shows that Appellants' post-hearing submissions to the Panel and FINRA raised in detail their concerns regarding due process, violation of FINRA Rules, conflict of interest, control person liability, and prejudice. The Panel's award expressly stated that the determination was made "[a]fter considering the pleadings, the testimony and evidence presented at the hearing, and the post hearing submissions." . . .
You don't know me; yes, I do; no, you don't because you only listed "John Doe"; but now I know who you are and I amended the caption; yeah, but it's too late; no, it isn't; yes, it is; no, it isn't because you were "virtually" named; "virtually" my ass; well, whatever, dude, because you're name is now listed as a Respondent; that's not due process because it's too late in the lawsuit; not according to three independent FINRA arbitrators; independent my ass, they're idiots; sounds like sour grapes to me and you damn sure better pay the Award; I ain't payin' jack and I'm moving to vacate; well, we'll move to confirm; yeah, well we'll see about; ditto!