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Member Arbitration Rules
SECTION 7. PRE-HEARING.
[Adopted effective February 18, 1992. Effective dates of amendments: March 24, 1994; March 12, 1996; June 23, 1997; June 1, 1999; September 1, 1999; March 1, 2002; June 1, 2006 and October 6, 2020.]
(a) Exchange of Documents and Written Information.
(1) The parties shall cooperate, without resort to issuance of subpoenas, in the voluntary exchange of material and relevant documents and written information which may serve to facilitate a fair, equitable and expeditious hearing.
(2) When a claim is accepted by NFA and served on each person named as a Respondent, NFA shall identify, from a list approved by NFA's Board of Directors, documents to be automatically exchanged between the parties. The parties shall exchange those documents no later than 15 days after the last pleading is due.
(3) All other requests for documents and written information shall be served as follows:
(i) Where the aggregate claim amount does not exceed $50,000, the requesting party shall serve its requests for documents and written information on the responding party no later than 20 days after the last pleading is due. The responding party shall serve the documents and written information, including written objections, no later than 20 days after the request is due.
(ii) Where the aggregate claim amount exceeds $50,000, the requesting party shall serve its request for documents and written information on the responding party by the requesting party no later than 30 days after the last pleading is due. The responding party shall serve the requesting party with the documents and written information, including written objections, no later than 30 days after the request is due.
(4) Written requests to compel production of documents and written information must be served on NFA and all parties no later than 10 days after the written objections are due. Written responses to the request to compel must be served on the Secretary and all parties no later than 10 days after the request to compel was served.
(5) A request to compel must include a written certification by the filing party or its representative. The certification must state that the filing party or its representative has made a good faith effort to resolve the matters forming the basis for the request through either a telephone conference or in-person meeting with the other party or its representative.
(6) Unless the Panel directs otherwise, requests to compel will be decided on the written submissions of the parties.
(7) A request to compel that is not timely filed under Section 7(a)(4) above will not be allowed except for good cause shown as to why it was late.
(8) Evidence that is otherwise discoverable or admissible in an arbitration proceeding shall not be rendered non-discoverable or inadmissible as a result of its use in connection with a mediation proceeding. However, documents and written information in the mediator's possession are not subject to discovery and may not be subpoenaed for use in the subsequent arbitration hearing.
(b) Documents to be Introduced into Evidence.
(1) Unless the Panel directs otherwise, each party shall serve on every other party all documents in such party's possession which the party intends to introduce into evidence at the hearing as part of its direct case and shall concurrently serve sufficient copies of the documents on NFA at least 10 days prior to the date assigned for an oral hearing.
(2) At least 15 days before the date assigned for a summary proceeding to commence, each party shall serve on NFA sufficient copies of all documents in such party's possession which are to be submitted to the Panel as part of the party's case and shall concurrently serve copies on every other party. At least five days before the date assigned for a summary proceeding to commence, each party shall serve on NFA sufficient copies of all documents in such party's possession which are to be submitted to the Panel to rebut the documents previously served by another party and shall concurrently serve copies on every other party.
(c) Hearing Plan.
The parties shall cooperate with NFA in the formulation of a written hearing plan. A hearing plan is a written document that summarizes each claim, Answer and Reply; identifies any facts the parties have agreed to; identifies the factual and legal issues in dispute; and lists the witnesses and exhibits that will be presented at the hearing. The parties shall serve on NFA and all parties a joint hearing plan, or separate hearing plans if they cannot agree on a joint one, no later than 30 days before the oral hearing date, unless the Panel directs otherwise.
(d) Failure to Comply.
The failure of any party to comply with Sections 7(a) through 7(c) or any order of the Panel may be brought to the attention of the Panel by NFA or the party seeking such documents or information. The Panel may take such actions in regard to the failure as are just, including, among other things, the following:
(1) finding that the matters regarding which the request was made or any other designated facts shall be taken to be established for the purpose of the action in accordance with the claim of the party making the request;
(2) refusing to allow the nonresponsive party to support or oppose designated claims or defenses or prohibiting him from introducing designated matters in evidence; or
(3) striking out pleadings or portions thereof, staying further proceedings until the nonresponsive party complies with the request, dismissing the action or proceeding or any part thereof, or rendering an award by default against the nonresponsive party; or
(4) refusing to hear the testimony of any witness or to accept any document into evidence if the witness or document was not listed in the hearing plan.
(e) Motions for Emergency Relief.
(1) A motion for emergency relief may be filed with an Arbitration Claim or at any time after a Demand is filed. The motion should include a statement explaining why emergency relief is needed and indicate the party or parties against whom the relief is sought. The party filing the motion shall pay a non-refundable fee of $500 and a hearing fee of $675 when filing the motion.
(2) The party filing the motion shall concurrently serve a copy of the motion on the party against whom relief is sought. NFA shall schedule a hearing on the motion no later than five business days after the motion is received by NFA. A party against whom relief is sought may serve a written response on NFA and the other party at or before the hearing. Service under this section must be accomplished by hand delivery or by use of a generally recognized overnight delivery service.
(3) One arbitrator will decide a motion for emergency relief unless NFA or the arbitrator directs otherwise. The arbitrator or arbitrators deciding the motion for emergency relief may be different from the arbitrator or arbitrators who are assigned to hear the Arbitration Claim.
(4) When the hearing fee paid under Section 7(e)(1) above is not enough to cover the standard preset hearing fees to be paid by NFA to the arbitrator or arbitrators for the time spent hearing the motion, NFA shall collect additional fees to cover the fees to be paid to the arbitrator or arbitrators.
(5) Any order granting emergency relief shall remain in effect until NFA serves the award under Section 10 of these Rules unless the order directs otherwise. The arbitrator or arbitrators may modify the order for good cause shown.
(6) If an order is issued granting emergency relief, the arbitrator or arbitrators may expedite the hearing by setting deadlines for filing pleadings, conducting discovery, exchanging exhibits, preparing the hearing plan, and scheduling the hearing that are shorter than those established under the Rules.
(f) Other Pre-Hearing Motions.
(1) Motions to dismiss for failing to state a claim will not be heard by the Panel. Other motions to dismiss must be included in a timely filed Answer or Reply. Motions for summary judgment may be raised at any time. Motions for directed verdict may be raised at the hearing.
(2) Except as provided in Section 7(a)(4) and Section 7(e) above, a party has 10 days from the date a pre-hearing motion is received in which to serve a written response on NFA and all other parties. However, where a motion is received less than 20 days in advance of the date the hearing or summary proceeding is scheduled to commence, NFA may, in its discretion, require a written response within less than 10 days. No written replies to a party's response to a motion will be allowed except in the Panel's discretion.
(3) NFA shall assess a motion fee as follows:
(i) In cases involving one arbitrator, a party filing a motion shall include a $200 motion fee for each motion filed more than 80 days after the last pleading is due. This fee may be subsequently waived at the discretion of the arbitrator, or the arbitrator may assess the motion fee against the party causing the filing of the motion. However, this fee shall not apply to a request for a preliminary hearing under Section 9(a) or a request for a postponement under Section 11(c) below.
(ii) In cases involving three arbitrators, any party filing a motion shall include a $650 motion fee for each motion filed more than 100 days after the last pleading is due. This fee may be subsequently waived at the discretion of the arbitrators, or the arbitrators may assess the motion fee against the party causing the filing of the motion. However, this fee shall not apply to a request for a preliminary hearing under Section 9(a) or a request for a postponement under Section 11(c) below.
(g) Pre-Hearing Decisions by the Arbitrators.
(1) For cases that will be decided through a summary proceeding, the Panel will decide all motions as part of the summary review, except for those related to discovery or postponement requests.
(2) With the consent of the other Panel members, one or more of the arbitrators may act on behalf of the Panel to decide any pre-hearing motions from the parties to conduct any pre-hearing conference with the parties. However, the Panel may not postpone the hearing or impose sanctions, dismiss a party, or dismiss all or any portion of a claim without a majority decision.
(h) Pre-Hearing Conference.
For cases that will be decided through an oral hearing, NFA may schedule a pre-hearing conference with the Panel and the parties. The notice scheduling the pre-hearing conference will specify the issues to be covered at the conference, including identifying outstanding discovery disputes, setting deadlines for other motions and scheduling the hearing. The conference will be conducted by telephone within 30 days after the motion to compel due date, unless the Panel directs otherwise.
The Panel may, upon the motion of a party, order evidence depositions for good cause shown.