Arbitration Procedures and Cost
Mr. Meissner is very selective in the cases the law firm accepts. He conducts a screening process to determine the initial strengths and weaknesses of each case before pursuing a matter through arbitration. As a result of the screening process the Meissner firm only accepts one out of ten cases submitted.
The firm accepts cases from around the country and from around the world. However, the Meissner firm is associated with a network of other highly qualified securities arbitration litigators throughout the country. If Mr. Meissner cannot accept a matter for any reason he can refer you to another qualified attorney. Contact a highly experienced securities law attorney to learn more about filing a securities violations claim. To learn about the costs of securities arbitration, review the material below, or visit the Fee Schedule Page.
Cost and Length of the Arbitration Process
Length of typical arbitration. Usual securities arbitration cases take 100 to 200 hours of preparation and presentation. A typical case usually is resolved 12 to 18 months after the claim filing date. To prepare a typical claim requires at least two weeks to four months.
Case Expenses. Miscellaneous expenses include postage, messengers, document duplication, and possibly transportation or lodging costs to conduct the actual hearing if travel is required. The cost of experts, if needed, depends on the experts’ hourly rates, which reflects their qualifications. A damage analysis, if needed, typically costs between $1500 and $4000 depending upon the number of accounts and trades. The damage analysis is used in drafting and submitting the claim. If the case goes to hearing and an expert is needed to testify, the cost for the expert’s testimony may range from $1500 to $3000 per day, in addition to any travel expenses. Attorney Meissner attempts to retain local experts if at all possible.
Filing Fees. For claims for over $25,000 in damages the filing fees and deposits are generally $1400 to $2200, depending upon the damages sought and where claim is brought (FINRA or NYSE), which include a deposit for the initial hearing.
Arbitration Fees. After the hearing, the arbitrators assign arbitration fees with their award. The fees can be split or assigned to one side. Usually, the arbitrators will either assign the fees entirely to the brokerage firm or divide the fees equally between the parties. However on rare occasions if the claimant looses an arbitration and the panel believes that the claims were fraudulent and frivolous the costs may be assigned to the investor at the discretion of the Arbitration panel.
The following fees apply to FINRA arbitrations:
- each pre-hearing session is $450 for one arbitrator
- each session with entire panel $1,200
A “session” consists of a morning or an afternoon.
An example of a typical uncomplicated arbitration lasting three days and several discovery conferences could cost approximately $4,000 in forum fees for the investor, if the arbitrators were to split the fees.
All forum fees are generally only assessed when the award is rendered. The Meissner firm always requests that the panel assign all costs of the arbitration to the firm and broker. A request for attorney fees depends upon the jurisdiction, but once requested by the investor, the arbitrators may also generally award such attorney fees to the broker/firm if they choose, unless based on statute.
Payment. Firms have 30 days to pay an award unless they appeal the award. However, appellate rights are very limited and rarely successful unless there is some clear evidence of a conflict by the arbitrators or if an arbitrator failed to disclose information in the selection process. Otherwise reversal is rare, so appeals are rarely brought. If no payment is made, the FINRA is required to institute a suspension action against the broker and firm. This means that the broker or firm will loose its license to sell securities, something most firms and brokers avoid at all costs.
If you have a matter that you would like the firm to screen please contact the Meissner firm. You will be requested to provide copies of various documents that the firm will need, and send you a questionnaire to complete.