You’ve Filed a Claim – What’s Next? The Award

By Mary Ann Hanke, Fall 2016 Student Intern

After the arbitration hearing, you have done all that you can do to argue your side of the case. The arbitrator has heard all the evidence, read the pleadings and exhibits, and now has thirty days to make a final ruling.

The information that is required to be in an award includes the following:

  • An acknowledgement by the arbitrators that they read the materials and pleadings filed
  • Damages and other relief requested and awarded
  • Resolution of the issues
  • Date of the hearing and award

Unlike judges, arbitrators are not required to provide reasons for why they ruled the way they did, and the orders are not subject to review or appeal. On one hand, this provides more finality and a quicker resolution. On the other, if the arbitrator did not rule in your favor, you have no other recourse. The only way to challenge an arbitrator’s award is under state and federal laws for the following reasons:

  • The award given was based on fraud, corruption, or undue means
  • Arbitrators were guilty of misconduct or exceeding their powers, or disregarding a clearly defined law or legal principle
  • There is no factual or reasonable basis for the award

If the arbitrator does award you damages, the Respondents have thirty days to pay. If they don’t, however, then you should contact FINRA. FINRA may suspend or revoke the registration for a member firm or associated person for failing to pay such fees.

After you have received your arbitration award, you are finally done with the arbitration process. You have gone from filing a statement of claim to initiate the proceedings, through arbitration selection, discovery, the hearing, to a final resolution. Contact FINRA if you have questions about the Rules of Conduct governing each step of the process.