Following an initial FINRA arbitration award holding Steven Singer liable to Hartford Financial Holdings for compensatory damages, Mr. Singer filed Chapter 7 bankruptcy. After a complicated procedural history, the Bankruptcy Court granted relief from the automatic stay and allowed Hartford to proceed with this action in US District Court for the Southern District of New York. In its petition, Hartford asked the District Court to confirm the arbitration award, and for a determination that the award is nondischargeable under § 523(a) of the Bankruptcy Code, or alternatively for a remand to the FINRA arbitration panel so that it may clarify the award. As an additional alternative, Hartford asked the Court to review FINRA arbitration hearings to determine whether the award is dischargeable.
The District Court confirmed the initial arbitration award but denied all of Hartford’s other requests for relief. In particular, the Court determined that a determination of whether the award was nondischargeable would violate the automatic stay. Further, the Court denied modification or remand finding that the award was not an evident miscalculation nor was it indefinite or ambiguous. Pursuant to New York statute and FINRA, 9% interest per annum was set on the award. Hartford Financial Holdings, Inc. v. Singer, Case No. 08-2459 (S.D.N.Y. May 4, 2010).