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Wednesday, June 27, 2012

MERRILL LYNCH, ET AL. VS. CANTONE RESEARCH, INC., ET AL. A-2680-10T1; A-2682-10T1; A-2699-10T1(CONSOLIDATED)


MERRILL LYNCH, ET AL. VS. CANTONE RESEARCH, INC., ET AL.
  A-2680-10T1; A-2682-10T1; A-2699-10T1(CONSOLIDATED)

In these consolidated appeals, we affirm four orders entered in the Law Division, enjoining defendants from pursuing their third-party claims against plaintiffs in two investor- initiated FINRA arbitrations, as well as denying defendants' cross-motions to compel plaintiffs to arbitration.   We hold that the Law Division has the authority to determine "gateway" issues such as whether an arbitration agreement exists between the parties, and whether FINRA's Customer Code and Industry Code compel plaintiffs to arbitrate defendants' third- party claims for contribution and indemnification. 06-27-12