Guidance for Cases Venued in Puerto Rico Following Hurricane Maria
Update Regarding Puerto Rico Cases
Effective October 21, 2017, FINRA ODR lifted the stay for all cases venued in Puerto Rico. At that time, we advised that we would resume the scheduling of in-person hearings in Puerto Rico for dates on or after December 4, 2017, as long as there were hotels and restaurants available for the parties and arbitrators, and there were no security issues or concerns. Last week, FINRA ODR personnel travelled to Puerto Rico, visited the hearing locations, met with staff at the hearing locations and surveyed the surrounding areas. As a result, FINRA ODR has determined that the conditions in Puerto Rico have improved sufficiently to enable in-person hearings to proceed in Puerto Rico as scheduled beginning December 4, 2017.
While the situation in the area where FINRA ODR conducts hearings is improved, at times, there is a limited supply of hotel sleeping and meeting rooms. Accordingly, until the supply of rooms normalizes, FINRA ODR will reserve hearing rooms and sleeping rooms for arbitrators approximately 6-8 weeks prior to the date of the in-person hearings to avoid the problem of not being able to secure sufficient rooms. For the same reason, parties and their counsel are strongly encouraged to make their own hotel reservations as soon as they receive notice from FINRA ODR of the location of the in-person hearing. The demand on meeting space and sleeping rooms is likely to continue through the first quarter of 2018.
Finally, the parties and their counsel are encouraged to notify FINRA ODR of the resolution of their disputes as soon as possible to enable FINRA ODR to timely cancel reservations.