Arbitration has often been compared to the traditional courts. The major difference is that the parties are able to proceed in a much more deliberate matter. Although arbitration is an informal process, a variety of matters may be subject to motion practice.
Motion to Compel Discovery
FINRA Rule 12509 provides that a party may make a motion asking the panel to order another party to produce documents or information if the other party has failed to respond to discovery requests, or objects to the production of documents or information under the rules. The rules require that these motions must include the disputed document request or list item, a copy of any objection thereto and a description of the efforts of the moving party to resolve the issue before making the motion.
Before ruling on a request, arbitrators must determine that a document is relevant or likely to lead to relevant evidence. Only after determining relevancy, should the arbitrators consider the cost or burden of production. If a party has demonstrated that the cost or burden of production is disproportionate to the need for the documents, arbitrators should see whether there are alternatives that can lessen the impact, such as narrowing the relevant time frame or scope of the request, or whether the other documents can provide the same information.
For issues involving privacy or confidentiality, arbitrators may want to consider ordering the redaction (removal) of names or other information, or having the parties sign confidentiality agreements. If a party claims a document is confidential, the burden is on that party to establish its confidentiality.
About 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.
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