The National Employment Lawyers Association ("NELA") is an organization of over 3000 of this country's leading civil rights and employment lawyers. NELA's members include not only attorneys in private practice but also lawyers on the staffs of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and various state anti-discrimination agencies. We are the attorneys to whom Congress looks for help in enforcing our nation's civil rights and labor laws.
NELA strongly supports all voluntary forms of alternative dispute resolution, including arbitration and mediation. In fact, NELA has been in the forefront nationally in encouraging mediation as a preferred method for resolving employment disputes. We helped draft the Due Process Protocol for the Resolution of Statutory Disputes and worked closely with the American Arbitration Association in the development of their specialized employment arbitration rules and procedures.
Because there appears to be such a great disparity between the public perception of arbitration and its day to day reality, both legal and factual, it is important to begin these comments by setting forth some basic facts about the process which are often misunderstood.
Unlike our constitutionally defined civil justice system, arbitration is not designed with the primary goal of achieving the legally correct result. Its primary object is finality and economy in achieving that finality. Although most of the general public is unaware of the fact, arbitrators are not required to know or follow the law. Moreover, a legally incorrect ruling cannot be appealed or rectified. The law is clear that a decision reached through binding arbitration must be confirmed even if there is an error of fact or law on the face of the award that causes substantial injustice to the parties.
Litigants for whom a quick and final decision is of primary importance, who do not require much discovery to establish their cases, and who are willing to risk a decision that could impose a result contrary to law, are certainly entitled to opt for binding arbitration of their claims, and indeed it may well be the most logical forum for the resolution of certain kinds of disputes. But the compulsory submission of all claims, including civil rights claims, whistleblower claims and ERISA claims, by employees as a condition of employment is another matter entirely. The problem is even more acute when the forum is controlled by the employers and does not conform to consensus minimum standards of due process.
Simply put, you cannot allow the entity being regulated by your legislation to unilaterally opt out of the requirements of that legislation.
Proponents of mandatory arbitration mistakenly assert that arbitration is "just another forum" and that substantive rights are not lost in that forum. These claims are simply not true. Employees lose the right to have the employment laws passed for their protection correctly enforced, which is the ultimate substantive right.
It does employees little good to have numerous protective statutes enacted by Congress for their benefit, if the arbitrators by whom those statutes are enforced are selected exclusively by their employers and are permitted to ignore or misapply these laws at their own discretion. Yet this is precisely the situation faced by employees in the securities industry arbitration context and, since courts are essentially powerless to review or correct decisions reached through such binding arbitration, arbitrators are unchecked in their power to ignore or misapply statutory law, including the civil rights laws.
Securities industry arbitrators are explicitly instructed in their Arbitrator's Manual that they have no obligation to follow statutory law. Even if an individual arbitrator feels morally obligated to follow the law, however, he or she may make an error of law. In such an instance, it is virtually impossible to overturn even the most blatant errors of law, since the standard of review is exceedingly narrow. As several cases have established, that standard requires that the arbitrator (a) knew the law, (b) found it applicable to the facts at issue, and nevertheless (c) specifically chose to ignore it. Not surprisingly, such a restrictive standard of "manifest disregard [of] the law" is nearly impossible to meet. This leads to such outlandish results as DiRussa vs. Dean Witter (121 F.3d 818 (2nd Cir. 1997)), in which the arbitrator failed to award attorneys fees to a prevailing plaintiff in a discrimination case, in plain violation of the statutory requirement. The arbitrator's erroneous decision was affirmed by the court, which stated that even though the arbitrator was clearly wrong under the law, the court could not reverse or correct his decision since there was no clear proof that he had "known" the law and then intentionally "disregarded" it.
Correction of an erroneous arbitral decision is also rendered virtually impossible by the fact that arbitrators are not required to set forth any written explanation of their decision, so there is rarely anything to review anyway. More significantly, securities industry arbitrators have historically been trained and encouraged not to provide written findings in order to frustrate judicial review. Most arbitration awards in the securities industry fora are not even written by the arbitrator. They are usually drafted by staff using boiler plate language that makes it impossible to determine what was or was not decided. The consequent lack of effective judicial review is particularly serious in arbitrations which have been unilaterally imposed by one party on the other in a forum controlled by the stronger party.
Furthermore, the costs to an employee to vindicate his or her rights in the arbitration forum are exorbitant, despite industry rhetoric to the contrary. An employee does not have to pay a federal court judge to hear his or her discrimination claim; access to the public courts is free, once the initial $150 filing fee is paid. By contrast, employees who are required to submit such claims to securities industry arbitration face exorbitant "forum" costs--a $500 initial filing fee, and then between $1500 and $3000 per day in arbitration forum fees. The result is that, over the course of a typical securities industry arbitration, a plaintiff may ultimately be liable for tens of thousands of dollars in forum fees even if he or she prevails. Forum fees in discrimination cases in the securities industry are routinely in excess of $20,000, and several have been in excess of $40,000, $60,000, or even, as in the case of Wolfe vs. Schwab, $82,000.
These outlandish costs and fees imposed on those who have been compelled to arbitrate their claims act as a significant barrier to employees who wish to exercise their statutory rights. Indeed, several circuit courts have recently found that there is no precedent in American jurisprudence for charging a citizen for the right to have statutes enacted for his or her protection enforced and that such costs cannot be imposed. Cole vs. Burns International Security, 105 F.3d 1465(D.C.Cir. 1997); Paladino vs. Avnet Computer, 134 F.3d 1054 (11th Cir. 1998). Despite the clear holding of two circuit Courts of Appeal that such fees are in fact illegal, the NASD not only continues to charge these unconscionable fees for the vindication of statutory rights, but has asked for the right to increase them.
It is also important to note that, in arbitration, discovery is significantly limited, which unfairly burdens employees seeking to vindicate statutory rights. Arbitration works best when the parties have equal access to the evidence necessary to prove their claimsin contract or construction disputes, for example, where extensive discovery is not necessary. An employee plaintiff, on the other hand, generally needs fairly extensive discovery if he or she is going to establish a discrimination claim. Such a plaintiff not only has the burden of proof, but must, in many employment cases, prove "state of mind" by circumstantial evidence, show "pretext" by the employer to disprove the stated reason for discharge, and/or show a "pattern" of discriminatory conduct. Without full and complete discovery, such proof is extraordinarily difficult to establish. This imbalance of access to evidence is exacerbated in the employment context by the fact that employee-plaintiffs' attorneys are ethically precluded from informally contacting most of the defendant's current employees.
In litigation, such essential discovery is easily obtained under the Federal (or applicable state) Rules of Civil Procedure. Arbitration, however, typically permits very little, if any, discovery, and whatever limited discovery is allowed is left to the discretion of the arbitrator (depositions, for example, which are often the only method for obtaining critical evidence from employee witnesses, are often either prohibited altogether or severely limited in arbitration). These limitations on discovery in arbitration inevitably, and heavily, favor the employer in any employee/employer dispute, since the employer usually controls almost all of the critical evidence. Securities arbitrators have historically been trained to permit depositions only for the purpose of preserving testimony of witnesses unavailable for the actual arbitration. Therefore, employees often hear many of the stated reasons for their discharge for the first time at the arbitration hearing itself, with no effective method of cross-examination. It must be noted that the securities industry has steadfastly refused to adopt the expanded discovery provisions of the Due Process Protocol which have been adopted by the American Arbitration Association and every other truly neutral ADR provider.
A further obstacle to employees in arbitration is the fact that arbitrators are not required to follow the established rules of evidence. This can, and often does, mean that the employee/plaintiff loses the benefit of significant evidentiary protections. In sexual harassment cases, for example, consensual sexual activity by the plaintiff with persons other than the harasser is excluded under federal law and in many state jurisdictions as irrelevant and invasive of the plaintiff's right to privacy. Yet an arbitrator in such a case, under no obligation to comply with such an evidentiary restriction, may allow the employer to forage where it desires in a plaintiff's private conduct.
Extensive documentation now exists as to the fundamental inequity of mandatory securities industry arbitration of employees' statutory claims. Numerous recent studies, surveys and articles by professional neutrals and academics have demonstrated conclusively that mandatory arbitration of statutory claims places the employee/plaintiff at a severe disadvantage and that outcomes in mandatory arbitrations are consistently far more favorable to employers than to employees when compared to the results reached in similar cases brought in a public courtwhich is precisely why the industry has fought so hard to maintain the present system.
Evidence of this disadvantage to the employee/plaintiff includes:
1. -- "Repeat User Bias." Many scholars and commentators have for some time expressed concern that, since arbitrators rely on repeat business for income, there is a potential for "repeat user bias" by arbitrators, i.e., a natural tendency to favor the party which has the potential for using the arbitrator's services again (D. Schwartz, Enforcing Small Print to Protect Big Business: Employee and Consumer Rights Claims in an Age of Compelled Arbitration, 1997 Wisc. L.R. 33, 73-81, 122-23 (1997); J. Sternlight, Panacea or Corporate Tool?: Debunking the Supreme Court's Preference for Binding Arbitration, 74 Wash. U. L.Q. 637, 647-52 (1996)). It goes without saying that, in the employment setting, the "repeat users" are the employers. Significantly, there now exists an empirical study by Professor Lisa Bingham of the University of Indiana School of Public Policy which demonstrates that this "repeat user bias" does in fact exist in employment arbitration (L. Bingham, Employment Arbitration: The Repeat Player Effect, 1 Emply.Rts. & Empl.Policy Journal 1 (1997)). The importance of this study is enormous in any consideration of employer-mandated arbitration in the securities industry, since it statistically confirms the reality of structural bias in favor of the employer in employment arbitration. Securities industry employers also have extensive databases of arbitrators' prior awards and proclivities, which gives them an extraordinary advantage in the selection process.
2. -- Several studies and surveys confirm that employers are far more successful in arbitration than they are in court before a jury. Employers not only win more often in arbitration; employees who do prevail are awarded far less in damages (D. Schwartz, Enforcing Small Print to Protect Big Business--cited above; R. Alleyne, Statutory Discrimination Claims: Rights "Waived" and Lost in the Arbitration Forum, 13 Hofstra Labor L.J. 381(1996); Bompey & Pappas, Is There A Better Way? Compulsory Arbitration of Employment Discrimination Claims After Gilmer, 19 Emp.Rel.L.J. 197(1994)). These findings are consistent with studies indicating that, when a petition to compel arbitration is filed, it is always the employer who is seeking to compel arbitration, while the employee is inevitably attempting to bring his or her claims in federal or state court (D. Schwartz, Enforcing Small Print to Protect Big Business, Bompey & Pappas, Is There A Better Way?-- both cited above). Employers would hardly be uniformly seeking an arbitration forum unless they correctly understood it to give them an advantage over employees.
3. -- Counsel for employers repeatedly and publically recommend that their employer clients use mandatory arbitration for discrimination claims. These attorneys unabashedly base this advice on the fact that, in arbitration, employers will win more and pay less in damage awards when they lose, be far more likely to avoid an assessment of punitive damages, and even possibly succeed in discouraging the employee from pursuing a claim altogether, given the costs and obstacles imposed by arbitration (D. Schwartz, Enforcing Small Print to Protect Big Business, Bompey & Pappas, Is There A Better Way?-- both cited above, and BNA Employment Discrimination Report, 1996, Vol. 6, p. 875, summarizing comments by Paul Cane, a management employment law attorney, in a speech before a conference sponsored by the Labor and Employment Law Section of the State Bar of California).
On the other hand, government agencies and commissions, academics and professional arbitration organizations have gone on record as strongly opposing mandatory employment arbitration of statutory claims.
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the agency charged by Congress with responsibility for enforcing this nation's civil rights laws, has issued an extensive policy statement dealing with mandatory arbitration. While strongly supporting the utilization of voluntary ADR procedures, the EEOC stated that, "agreements that mandate binding arbitration of discrimination claims as a condition of employment are contrary to the fundamental principles evinced in the federal anti-discrimination statutes," and are thus illegal and unenforceable. EEOC, Policy Statement on Mandatory Binding Arbitration of Employment Discrimination Disputes as a Condition of Employment, 133 Daily Lab.Rep (BNA) E-4 (July 11, 1997), attached. This EEOC policy was approved unanimously by the Republican and Democratic appointees to the Commission.
Among the EEOC's objections are that arbitration is not governed by the statutory requirements and standards of Title VII; it is conducted by arbitrators given no training and possessing no expertise in employment law; and it forces employees to pay exorbitant "forum fees" in the tens of thousands of dollars, greatly discouraging aggrieved employees from seeking relief.
The National Academy of Arbitrators, the leading and most respected national organization of professional labor-management arbitrators and the body which gave labor arbitration its credibility, has taken the historic step of passing a resolution condemning mandatory arbitration of statutory employment disputes. In 1997, the Academy stated that it, "opposes mandatory employment arbitration as a condition of employment when it requires waiver of direct access to either a judicial or administrative forum for the pursuit of statutory rights" (National Academy of Arbitrators Statement and Guidelines, 103 Daily Lab.Rep. (BNA) E-1 (May 29, 1997)). The Academy has expressed strong concern that mandatory arbitration often results in arbitral fora which do not provide elements of fundamental fairness to employees, and in which arbitrators are often not able or willing to enforce the claimed statutory rights. In fact, the Academy took the unprece-dented step of filing a brief in the matter of Duffield v. Robertson Stephens (1998 USApp.Lexis 9284 (9th Cir. 1998)) asserting that the securities industry arbitration system and its procedures were not adequate to vindicate statutory rights.
Recently, the Society of Professionals in Dispute Resolution, this country's other leading organization of professional neutrals, announced that it, too, opposed mandatory employment arbitration. In a January 1998 policy statement issued by the its Board of Directors, the organization stated that it, "is in substantial agreement with the position taken by the National Academy of Arbitrators in opposition to agreements imposing arbitration of statutory rights as a condition of employment." Statement on Arbitration of Statutory Rights Imposed as a Condition of Employment, Approved by SPIDR Board of Directors January 24, 1998.
The requirement of voluntariness is also supported by the recommendations of the "Commission on the Future of Worker-Management Relations" (The "Dunlop Commission"), a blue ribbon Presidential commission consisting of business and labor leaders, government officials and professional neutrals. In its December 1994 "Report and Recommendations", the Commission stated that, "binding arbitration agreements should not be enforceable as a condition of employment." Commission on the Future of Worker-Management Relations: Report and Recommendations (December 1994), also expressing concern as to:
the potential for abuse of ADR created by the imbalance of power between employer and employee, and the resulting unfairness to employees who, voluntarily or otherwise, submit their disputes to ADR. These concerns are obvious if the process is controlled unilaterally by employers, such as when employees are required to sign mandatory arbitration clauses as a condition of employment.
Indeed, the Dunlop Commission specifically singled out the securities industry in its report. The Commission stated that, "with respect to the securities industry, the Commission believes employees of securities firms should not be required as a condition of employment to arbitrate disputes arising under federal or state employment laws."
The National Labor Relations Board has also challenged mandatory employment arbitration agreements as being illegal. In a 1996 report, the General Counsel of the NLRB concluded that mandatory binding arbitration clauses, imposed as a condition of employment, violated the National Labor Relations Act. NLRB General Counsel Report, 1996 Daily Lab.Rep. 36 E-4, E-6,7 (Feb. 23, 1996).
The General Accounting Office has similarly determined that securities industry arbitrators were frequently not qualified or properly trained to decide discrimination cases. General Accounting Office, Report HEHS-94-17, Employment Discrimination: How Registered Representatives Fare in Discrimination Disputes (March 30, 1994)
Additionally, a number of the country's most prominent employment law professors and legal scholars have written law review articles in which they conclude that mandatory arbitration of statutory employment claims--imposed by employers as a condition of employment--is unlawful. Their reasons include the absence of a "voluntary" waiver of rights, a lack of constitutional due process in the arbitration system, the basic conflict with the purposes and language of the civil rights laws, and the fact that the Federal Arbitration Act ("FAA") simply does not apply to employment contracts. (R. Alleyne, Statutory Discrimination Claims, L. Bingham, Employment Arbitration: The Repeat Player Effectboth cited above; P. Carrington & P. Haagen, Contract and Jurisdiction, 1996 Sup.Ct.Rev. 331, 344-45 (1997); J. Grodin, Arbitration of Employment Discrimination Claims: Doctrine and Policy In Wake of Gilmer, 14 Hofstra Lab.L.J. 1 (1996); S. Hoffman, Mandatory Arbitration: Alternative Dispute Resolution or Coercive Dispute Suppression?, 17 Berk.J.Empl.&Lab.L. 131 (1996); R. Reuben, Public Justice: Toward a State Action Theory of Alternative Dispute Resolution, 85 Calif.L.Rev. 3 (1997); D. Schwartz, Enforcing Small Print to Protect Big Business, J. Sternlight, Panaceaboth cited above; J. Sternlight, Rethinking the Constitutionality of the Supreme Court's Preference for Binding Arbitration: A Fresh Assessment of Jury Trial, Separation of Powers and Due Process Concerns, 72 Tulane L.R. 1, 7 (1977); S. Ware, Employment Arbitration and Voluntary Consent, 25 Hofstra L.Rev. 83 (1996).)
Arbitration is only viable, from either a legal or policy perspective, if it is the result of a truly voluntary agreement by the parties, who are aware of arbitration's strengths and limitations, and who have freely decided to use that process to settle a particular dispute. Without this element of a knowing, voluntary agreement, there is no legal or moral justification for enforcing an arbitration agreement.
As the National Academy of Arbitrators has stressed:
the strength and justification for the enforcement of agreements to arbitrate, and for the limited judicial review of arbitration awards, rests on the foundation that agreements to arbitrate be voluntary ...unless a party has agreed to arbitrate, it will not be compelled to do so. Likewise, the immunity from judicial review of an arbitrator's alleged error of law or fact is premised on the voluntary choice of the parties to submit to an arbitrator's judgment. Without the voluntariness of the arbitration agreement, the public policy favorable to arbitration lacks a foundation." (Academy Amicus Brief in Duffield, cited above.)
Aside from general concerns about mandatory arbitration required as a condition of employment, the securities industry arbitration systems involve certain unique features distinguishing them from other arbitration systems administered by neutral entities.
For the past ten years I have been the Chair of NELA's Securities Industry Arbitration Committee. In that capacity, I have been extensively involved in monitoring the rules, procedures and results of securities industry arbitrations. I have had numerous meetings and discussions on the topic of arbitration of employment disputes with executives in charge of the NASD and NYSE arbitration systems. I have had meetings and discussions with the staff of the Securities and Exchange Commission and I have frequently been asked by the SEC to comment on changes to arbitration rules proposed from time to time by the various self-regulatory organizations.
I am also co-counsel for plaintiff in Duffield vs. Robertson Stephens (USDC/NDCal. Case No. C95-0109-EFL, filed 1/11/95), in which the Ninth Circuit unanimously held that the securities industry could not compel arbitration of discrimination claims through the use of the Form U-4. In the course of my representation of Ms. Duffield, I took the depositions of the heads of the arbitration programs at both the NASD and the NYSE and reviewed the arbitration awards, procedures and all of the training materials used in the securities industry since 1990. The extensive record we developed in Duffield was submitted to and relied upon by federal Judge Nancy Gertner in her landmark decision in Rosenberg v. Merrill Lynch (76 FEP 681 (D.Mass. 1998).
In Rosenberg, after reviewing the actual structure, operations and results of the securities arbitration system as the Supreme Court had invited in Gilmer v. Interstate/Lane Johnson Corp. (500 U.S. 20 (1991)), Judge Gertner determined that the Exchange's system was structurally biased against employees and fell outside "contemporary standards of arbitral impartiality" due to the industry's domination of the system. There is no question that Judge Gertner was correct in her analysis.
A review of the awards I have obtained demonstrates that even when plaintiffs prevail in securities industry arbitration, they are frequently not awarded attorneys' fees and costs as required by the civil rights laws. As already noted, forum fees have been as high as $42,600, $42,900, $49,000 and even $82,000. My review of these awards demonstrated that many cases have hearings stretching over months, with lengthy breaks between the sessions. This sort of scheduling makes it very difficult to present evidence coherently and for the arbitrators to keep the facts of a particular case in mind.
In building our record in Duffield, we also discovered that the NASD requires a special review by its staff of any award of attorneys' fees or punitive damages before such an award is issued, since in the NASD forum attorneys' fees or punitive damages are considered "extraordinary awards." This review is not provided for in any published rules of the exchange. The purported reason for the review is to assure that the award of these damages or fees has a legal basis. It is telling, however, that no such review is conducted for any other issueincluding situations in which claims are dismissed in their entirety without any explanation at all.
Over the past several years, the NASD, at the industry's insistence, has discussed proposals to cap punitive damages in their arbitration forum, even though every judicial opinion on the subject confirms that this is not permissible. The first recommendation to that effect was made by their Lawyers Advisory Committee. A similar recommendation was then formally made by the Ruder Committee. After being soundly rejected by the Securities Industry Conference on Arbitration and even the New York Stock Exchange itself, which deemed such an intrusion into substantive rights completely inappropriate for a theoretically neutral provider, the NASD Board of Governors went ahead and unilaterally approved a proposed rule change which has been submitted to the SEC. This rule change would cap punitive damages at $750,000 or two times special damages in customer cases, whichever is less, and the staff is considering a similar proposal for employment cases. These efforts have created a culture within the securities industry and its arbitration systems in which punitive damages are discouraged and, in fact, rarely awarded.
Most significantly, the securities industry fora stand alone in their refusal to endorse, use or conform to the Due Process Protocol for the Arbitration of Statutory Disputes. This means there is significantly less discovery, reasoned awards are not provided, and complicated legal issues are resolved by unqualified, industry affiliated arbitrators who have no legal training whatsoever and are told they are not required to follow the laws passed by Congress or the decisions of the United States Supreme Court.
Even when plaintiffs prevail on discrimination claims in the securities industry system, it is evident that federal discrimination laws are not being properly enforced and Title VII claimants rarely receive their full statutory remedies. I am not aware of any discrimination case in which remedial relief has been ordered to improve hostile or discriminatory working environments.
A further impediment to securities industry employees is the fact that the existence of compulsory arbitration before securities industry arbitrators makes it more difficult for a plaintiff to obtain legal help in pursuing his or her claims due to the accurate perception of unfair results, fewer awards, and lower damages resulting from such arbitrations. Based on my own extensive experience and on my conversations with plaintiff attorneys from across the country, I believe that the requirement that a claim be arbitrated in the securities industry forum deters plaintiff counsel from accepting cases that they might otherwise take on. It is thus more difficult for securities industry employees to find attorneys willing to represent them in that forum. Those who are successful in obtaining counsel have to be advised that, even if they prevail, there is no assurance that they will recover forum fees or attorneys' fees, even if such recovery is provided by statute. I am aware of far too many cases where women were advised to abandon apparently valid and substantiated discrimination and harassment claims if the only forum available to them was the securities industry arbitration forum.
Finally, and of ultimate importance, is the fact that a justice system must not only be fair in fact, but must also be perceived to be fair, if it is to fulfill its purpose. That perception simply does not exist any longer with regard to the industry-controlled securities arbitration system. It is my experience that the securities industry arbitration forum is correctly perceived by both management and employee counsel as a more favorable forum for employers than the federal courts. I have, in fact, participated in numerous presentations at the American Bar Association and other meetings where that exact statement was made. On more than one occasion I have had defense counsel in a securities industry case say to me, "What's this case worth, it's going to arbitration?"
It is now unfortunately well established that, due to the continued domination and overreaching by the industry in the operation of the system and the repeated promulgation of rule changes intended to deprive employees and customers of substantive statutory rights, the securities systems have lost the "perception of fairness," not only in the eyes of the ADR community, but of the public, the media and, increasingly, the courts as well, as evidenced by the recent Second Circuit opinion in Halligan vs. Kidder Peabody, in which the court vacated an arbitration decision because the arbitrators had dismissed a compelling age discrimination case with no explanation whatsoever. Even the Second Circuit, which has been historically supportive of arbitration, is now telling the industry "Enough is enough."
I have attached to these comments a sampling of articles from the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times and a number of other respected publications highlighting problems with mandatory arbitration and the perceived biases and deficiencies of the securities industry system. The bottom line is that, no matter what you think of arbitration, in 1998 there is no longer any justification for allowing the securities industry to control its own mandatory forum. This affront to law and basic principles of justice has gone on far too long, despite repeated demands by the EEOC, civil rights organizations and the professional neutral community for reform. It is necessary that Congress perform its oversight function and protect the legal and constitutional rights of securities industry employees and the investing public.
When the nation's leading academics and arbitrators summon the moral courage to publically proclaim that the securities system is unfair and take the extraordinary step of opposing the securities arbitration system in court in order to preserve the credibility of "fair" arbitration, their message cannot be ignored. When the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, USA Today,"20-20" and other major national news sources feature prominent exposés on the abuses of mandatory arbitration, and the securities arbitration system in particular, then all fair-minded people must take note. For in the end, ensuring the integrity of the laws passed by Congress and assuring the public of the integrity of our nation's markets must be your goal. The investing public will be right in asking: "if we can't trust the industry to operate a justice system without taking unfair advantage, how can we trust them with our money?"
Thank you for your consideration. I would be pleased to meet members of your staff if you
desire more information and documentation regarding the matters I have addressed.
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