Blog by Bill Singer Esq WEEK IN REVIEW

December 26, 2020

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For Aegis Frumento, 2020 has been a year of absence from his beloved New York City and a period of somewhat splendid isolation in his Hudson Valley home. Working remote, Aegis has taken advantage of Zoom, grown a beard, mastered sourdough bread, and drunk a lot of wine. Notwithstanding his somewhat idyllic retreat, he still greatly misses his Big Apple full of life and street noise, bustling with traffic, with eateries and watering holes beyond count. As to those silly predictions about the death of the City, Aegis promises that he will return next Christmas to Saint Pat's, be it the cathedral on Fifth Avenue or the pub on West 46th Street, or both! London, Paris and Florence survived the plague, and New York will survive COVID. Count on it!
What a difference a day makes, 24 little hours. Nice tune. A classic. Unfortunately, for one wannabe Merrill Lynch Preferred Transition Specialist Trainee, it was the 25th little hour in jail that proved to be her undoing. For Wall Street's Big Boys, however, the letter and the number of the Law is often of no consequence; and when it is or should be, well, you know how things work: The industry's behemoths hire a large law firm, that law firm submits a letter seeking a waiver/exemption, that letter is often drafted by a former regulator, and, lo and behold, Eurkea!!!, the plain-and-simple Law proves not-so plain and not-so simple, and the letter or the number of the Law gets fudged -- some might even say erased.
In today's blog, we got a classic "if my aunt were a man, she'd be my uncle" argument. If the parties in the FINRA arbitration were the same parties before the federal court, then there would be diversity jurisdiction for purposes of the federal rules. As it turns out, the Claimant in the FINRA arbitration is not a party in the federal court matter; and the two Respondents in the federal court matter, are not parties in the FINRA arbitration. Put another way: If a tree falls in a FINRA Arbitration but one arbitrator clapped with only one hand, what would a federal judge hear if he wasn't there?