August 28, 2021
Given my advanced age and decades of lawyering, there isn't much that surprises me anymore. Be that as it may, I came across a FINRA intra-industry arbitration in which an associated person was pitted against another associated person, a non-associated person, and a non-associated company. Get yer scorecards here! At the heart of the dispute was an apparently nasty break-up with allegations of defamation. The former employee won. The former employee lost. It's a long story. There's a surprising twist involved.
Motion practice is about as bland as it gets with civil litigation. As we come upon today's courtroom drama in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida, the Defendants have filed a Motion to Compel Arbitration in response to a Complaint. From here, it's a matter of who signed what, what was or was not delivered or attached, and whether a federal magistrate or a federal judge got whatever it is right.
As Chuck Berry so famously penned in the opening lines of "Roll Over Beethoven":
Just let me hear some of that rock and roll music
Any old way you choose it
It's got a backbeat, you can't lose it
Sadly, we have lost that backbeat with the death of Stones' drummer Charlie Watts. [Follow link to watch video performances].
A recent FINRA AWC regulatory settlement looks like a case where an employer threw an employee under the bus, and the regulator gunned the engine and drove over him with relish and delight. There was a time when Wall Street's employers had their employees' backs. Some say that was a problem. Some look back upon those days with wistfulness. Be that as it may, there's no going back, but if this regulatory settlement is any indication, we're not necessarily moving forward but going off the rails.
BrokeAndBroker.com's publisher, Bill Singer, is no fan of FINRA's expungement process. When wearing his white hat as an investor's advocate, Bill sees FINRA's expungement process as little more than a profitable drive-in car wash that cleans dirty records and polishes undeserving reputations. When wearing his black hat as an industry advocate, Bill sees FINRA's expungement process as a cudgel with which broker-dealer employers pound their former employees via mandatory intra-industry arbitration replete with high fees and enervating delays. Notwithstanding Bill's reservations and concerns, a recent FINRA Arbitration Award presented a compelling case for expungement that was deftly handled by a very competent arbitrator.