Attorney to Clarify Arbitration in D.C
Byline: Schmitt & Culloton
Wheaton securities attorney James F. Beckley will travel to Washington, D.C., later this month to participate in an American Bar Association program on litigation issues, called Trial by Jury.
His presentation will tackle the issue of contractual arbitration clauses, in which parties agree to resolve any disputes between them through an arbitration process.
The topic, Beckley admits, is complicated to the uninitiated, but it is crucial for attorneys representing anyone who owns stocks.
That's because, increasingly, brokers are requiring new customers to sign clauses agreeing to settle disputes through arbitration.
His presentation will cover changes in Supreme Court rulings affecting arbitration clauses - including one that allowed securities companies to use state laws to avoid arbitrating certain issues, such as punitive damages, and another ruling that later stopped that practice.
"It's going to be fun because so much of securities litigation is now arbitration," Beckley said.
Because arbitration clauses are becoming more prevalent, Beckley said, more legislation is being proposed at both the state and federal levels. But Beckley will argue that arbitration issues are best decided at the federal level, in light of recent Supreme Court decisions.
"We're wasting time our time on the state level," Beckley said.
In addition to practicing law in Wheaton, Beckley has been a member of the Securities Industries Conference on Arbitration for eight years. …