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Two New FINRA Awards Reflecting Virtual Hearings, and a Change to the Award Template Reinforcing that ODR Is Now “FINRA Dispute Resolution Services”
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By George H. Friedman, SAA Editor-in-Chief

Two new Awards have been posted in FINRA’s Arbitration Awards Online that show hearings conducted virtually due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Letter from the Editor: Change the Code to Support Virtual Hearings
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We always welcome letters to the editor commenting on current items of interest in the Alert. Here’s one from the editor, suggesting that the FINRA Code of Arbitration Procedure be amended to specifically authorize arbitrators to direct that hearings be held virtually.

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FINRA Stats, 3/20: First Quarter 2020 Ends with Little Change in Case Volume from Last Year…, But Wait!
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In our monthly report on the February 2020 statistics FINRA Dispute Resolution Services* (FINRA-DRS) posted at the end of March (see SAA 2020-13), we noted that the case filing statistics were coming in,

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FINRA ODR In-Person Hearings Postponed Again, and AAA Follows Suit. Have We Seen the First FINRA Award with a Virus-Related Virtual Hearing?
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By George H. Friedman, SAA Editor-in-Chief

The FINRA Office of Dispute Resolution (“ODR”) announcement on administrative postponement of in-person hearings through May 31 has been updated to affect hearings though July 3.

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District Court Follows “Reasonableness” Standard for Arbitrator Disclosure. Confirms Award of $3 Million in Sanctions for Discovery Abuse … and a Coronavirus Update
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By George H. Friedman, SAA Editor-in-Chief

The Southern District of Florida confirms an Award containing $3 million for discovery abuse, finding that two Arbitrators’ non-disclosure would not cause a reasonable person to doubt their impartiality.

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Anatomy of a Zoom Videoconference Mediation
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We published in SAA 2020-12 (Mar. 25) an article by Mediator Roger M. Deitz advocating that parties consider using telephone mediation as a way to cope with Coronavirus-related delays and disruptions to the dispute resolution process.

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