Challenging the Arbitrator: Challenge for Cause

challenge
Challenge the Arbitrator

Challenging the Arbitrator: Challenge for Cause

In a FINRA Arbitration, parties are permitted to challenge the appointment of an arbitrator to their case. Parties may challenge the arbitrator directly by filing a Motion to Recuse. Alternatively, a party’s challenge may be made directly to FINRA in the form of a Challenge for Cause or by filing a Director’s Authority to Remove request.

According to FINRA rules, a party may file a challenge for cause to remove an arbitrator from the case before the first hearing session begins. Once a party files a challenge for cause, all opposing parties are entitled to submit a response. FINRA staff, on behalf of the Director of Arbitration, will review the challenge for cause and responses filed, if any, to determine whether to remove the arbitrator.

The rule provides that a challenge for cause to remove an arbitrator will be granted where it is reasonable to infer, based on information known at the time of the request, that the arbitrator is biased, lacks impartiality or has a direct or indirect interest in the outcome of the arbitration. The interest or bias must be direct, definite and capable of reasonable demonstration, rather than remote or speculative. Close questions regarding challenges to an arbitrator by a customer will be resolved in favor of the customer.

Here is the specific rule for the FINRA Director to remove an Arbitrator

12407. Removal of Arbitrator by Director

(a) Before First Hearing Session Begins
Before the first hearing session begins, the Director may remove an arbitrator for conflict of interest or bias, either upon request of a party or on the Director’s own initiative.
(1) The Director will grant a party’s request to remove an arbitrator if it is reasonable to infer, based on information known at the time of the request, that the arbitrator is biased, lacks impartiality, or has a direct or indirect interest in the outcome of the arbitration. The interest or bias must be definite and capable of reasonable demonstration, rather than remote or speculative. Close questions regarding challenges to an arbitrator by a customer under this rule will be resolved in favor of the customer.
(2) The Director must first notify the parties before removing an arbitrator on the Director’s own initiative. The Director may not remove the arbitrator if the parties agree in writing to retain the arbitrator within five days of receiving notice of the Director’s intent to remove the arbitrator.
(b) After First Hearing Session Begins
After the first hearing session begins, the Director may remove an arbitrator based only on information required to be disclosed under Rule 12405 that was not previously known by the parties. The Director may exercise this authority upon request of a party or on the Director’s own initiative. Only the Director may exercise the authority under this paragraph (b).

Ken StrongmanAbout the Author: Ken Strongman (www.kpstrongman.com) has years of experience and a growing national reputation as a mediator and arbitrator.  He has successfully resolved more than a thousand disputes in the fields of construction defects, real estate, intellectual property, and employment.  He is also a Mediator and Arbitrator for FINRA.

© 2020 Ken Strongman. All Rights Reserved. Please do not copy or repost without permission.

By Ken Strongman

As a full-time, Mediator and Arbitrator since 2004, Ken’s overarching purpose is to leave the disputing parties in a better position than when they came to him. Ken works to unite people into purposeful and unified directions, actions, and efforts by getting under surface appearances. By doing so, he facilitates the parties in developing their unique solutions. Disputes addressed include business, securities, construction defects, real estate, intellectual property, employment, environment, energy, and trusts & estates.