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Malecki Law is a respected, investor-side securities law firm based in New York City’s financial center. In addition to helping retail investors and retirees recover tens of millions of dollars from the world’s biggest brokerage firms, Malecki Law’s securities attorneys are also experienced practitioners in representing the securities industry’s financial professionals against their current or former employers in promissory note disputes, as well as in expungement arbitrations to remove defamatory marks and customer complaints from a Form U5. The firm’s regulatory defense practice also makes it a strong choice for those financial professionals in receipt of a FINRA 8210 request, as well as others in receipt of a subpoena from the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) or the New Jersey Bureau of Securities.
Malecki Law will help you determine whether your case can be brought in court or in arbitration, with its experienced attorneys regularly practicing in both forums. Through their licensing and employment agreements, securities industry participants are typically required to resolve their employment disputes in arbitration before the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA). But so are regular retail investors with retirement accounts, where the fine print of new account agreements typically waive all rights to bringing an action in court, stipulating that all disputes must be resolved in FINRA. Since 1987, following the U.S. Supreme Court’s landmark decision in Shearson/American Express v. McMahon, 483 U.S. 1056 (1987), this has essentially been the requirement for all retail investors suing brokerage firms.
Investors bringing arbitrations usually have questions about whether their case can be heard fairly in arbitration. The answer is yes, and often more quickly and for less cost. That’s not to say that arbitration at FINRA does not have its downsides, because it does, but this is why it is important to have a securities attorney who is familiar with the arbitration landscape and its multitude of practice rules cited under the FINRA Code of Arbitration Procedure for Customer Disputes.
Arbitration is a lot like court, only your case is decided by arbitrators – sometimes one arbitrator, but usually a panel of up to three arbitrators for cases with larger damages. Evidence is presented in much the same way you see in court, with opening and closing arguments, as well as direct and cross examination of witnesses. Discovery is also a lot less onerous and time consuming in arbitration, where there are typically no depositions or interrogatories permitted, with the parties being provided with a Discovery Guide that provides a set list of documents that must be presumptively produced in every arbitration. This does not mean that defense lawyers willingly produce everything on the list without a fight, but it does make it somewhat easier to obtain documents to help prove your case.
Arbitrators do not have to follow the law, but they are also not allowed to manifestly disregard it. Arbitrators also have the freedom to make decisions in favor of an investor where the law would normally not allow for it; this is because arbitrators are permitted to issue awards based on both law and “equity,” which is simply a legal term for doing what is fair. Another advantage of arbitration is that there are limited grounds for appeals, making it very hard to overturn an award. This factors into one of the best parts of arbitration, which is the speed with which you can reach a final and binding resolution. The FINRA Customer Code further ensures that brokerage firms must fully pay an award within 30 days of its issuance, otherwise risk having their licensed suspended or revoked. Compared to the extensive delays that are typical of court cases, arbitrations brought in FINRA provide an investor with a lot more leverage to move their case forward and have it resolved within a reasonable timeframe.
For nearly 25 years, New Jerseyites have been able to count on Malecki Law for their representation needs, whether in FINRA arbitration or in court. Malecki Law’s attorneys are licensed in both New York and New Jersey, including the state and federal courts of both states. We have recovered tens of millions of dollars for victims of financial fraud, and our results speak for themselves. Feel free to contact us for a free consultation. Most of our clients choose a contingency fee versus paying hourly, which means we do not get paid unless you do.