FINRA Dispute Resolution Services (“DRS”) has posted case statistics through August, with trends continuing to show a comparatively strong year in arbitration filings – especially industry cases – and a continued drop-off in mediations.
We offer these headlines: 1) overall arbitration filings through August – 2,181 cases – are up 27% for the year (was plus 30% in July); 2) cumulative customer claims increased 15% (was plus 19% last month); 3) industry arbitration filings were up 48% (was up 47 in July); and 4) the long-term decline in mediation cases continues, although it appears to be levelling off. There were 267 new arbitrations filed in August compared to 206 new cases in July.
What’s behind the industry surge in industry arbitration filings? In part: “employment-relate disputes.” In SAA 2023-30 (Aug. 10), we examined the midyear “Top 15 Controversy Types in Intra-Industry Arbitrations” stats to determine where employment filings might end up at the end of the year. Specifically, we looked at these controversy types: breach of contract; U-5 related libel or slander; promissory notes; libel, slander, or defamation; discrimination or harassment; and wrongful termination. All six categories are projected to increase as a group by nearly 23%, as this chart shows:
|Category||2022||2023 June||2023 Projected||Diff|
|Breach of contract||225||130||260||35|
Continued Decline in Mediation
There were 448 mediation cases in agreement, a 25% decrease from 2022. This stat has been declining steadily in recent months, and is way down from May 2022’s torrid plus 137% pace. The mediation settlement rate was steady at 85%.
Overall arbitration turnaround times were 15.5 months (a slight decrease), with hearing cases now taking 18.3 months (a slight increase). There are now 8,347 DRS arbitrators, 4,082 public and 4,265 non-public. This stat was up across the board last month. Pending cases stand at 3,356, up 19 from July.
(ed: *If the trend holds, the 2,181 arbitrations filed through August straight-lines to nearly 3,275 yearly arbitration filings, still a decent year by recent measures. Last year there were 2,671 arbitration case filings. The all-time high-water mark was in 2003, when that post tech-wreck figure was 8,945 cases. **Past year stats can be found here.)