South-Western Legal Studies in Business

Arbitration Panel Could Refuse Request to Delay Hearing
Description

Appeals court held that an arbitration panel did not engage in misconduct by refusing to delay a hearing at the request of one party. That party had not been diligent in requesting documents in the years before the hearing, so had no grounds for insisting on last minute consideration.

Topic

Alternate Dispute Resolution

Key Words

Arbitration; Misconduct; Procedure; Securities

C A S E   S U M M A R Y
Facts

In 2000, Morgan Stanley initiated arbitration proceedings against Laws to recover an alleged deficit of $690,000 in his account. The hearing was set for Feb. 4, 2003. Despite the long time before the hearing, Laws did not request certain documents until shortly before the hearing, which Morgan Stanley provided. The day before the hearing, Laws requested a continuance, arguing that he needed more time to study the documents. The hearing panel rejected the request and then ruled against Laws at the hearing. He sued, contending the panel engaged in misconduct by denying him a continuance. The district court upheld the arbitration results. Laws appealed.

Decision

Affirmed. The hearing panel did not engage in misconduct by denying the motion for continuance. Arbitration had been pending for three years, so Laws had plenty of time to ask for assorted documents and, furthermore, the ones in question were not that many or that complex.

Citation

Laws v. Morgan Stanley, ---F.3d--- (2006 WL 1579542, 5th Cir., 2006)

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