Tuesday, March 21, 2006

More SIA News

Today's sessions included two on arbitration, one featuring Linda Fienberg from the NASD, who always draws a crowd because of her interesting and timely comments.

Ms. Fienberg confirmed that the NASD will not be doing away with the industry arbitrator on its panels, but it is making significant changes to arbitrator selection, including three lists - industry, public and a separate list for a Chairman. The arbitrators on the chairman list have all been trained as Chairman, and hopefully we will avoid the situation that has cropped up of completely inexperienced chairman.

She also reported that the discovery arbitrator pilot is moving along and is being well received, and the direct communication program (which has been a blessing) is doing well, with no problems.

Ms. Fienberg also gave an update on the new discovery guidelines, which the NASD has been working on for two years, and which they can't seem to obtain a consensus. Working with groups of claimant and defense attorneys, they are attempting to come up with 2 or 3 categories of documents that should be produced, up front, in every case. While it is not a surprise that they are having a hard time with this, since every case, no matter how similar is different, and the more "lists" they put together, the more control they remove from the arbitrators, she indicated that they hope to have a proposal out by year's end.
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