FINRA’s Office of Dispute Resolution Services (“DRS”) has again administratively postponed all in-person arbitration and mediation hearings.
The January 5 announcement now includes hearings through April 2; the previous date was February 28. As was the case before, DRS adds: “Please note that postponing a hearing will not affect other case deadlines. All case deadlines will continue to apply and must be timely met unless the parties jointly agree otherwise.”
The updated announcement offers fee waivers for stipulated postponement of hearings set through June 30, 2021. Why the latest date pushback? Says DRS: “Currently, none of the 70 hearing locations demonstrate public health conditions that are consistent with CDC guidance for activities such as in-person hearings.”
(ed: *As we’ve said before, with the ongoing spike in COVID-19 cases, we’re not surprised. In fact, things are still moving in the wrong direction. For a while Pittsburgh and Syracuse made the grade, but as of January 2021, there are no hearing locations listed. **We assume April 2 was chosen instead of March 31 because it’s the end of a work week. ***We analyzed in SAA 2020-34 (Sep. 9) the forum’s COVID-19 safety protocol and process.)