By Robert M. Hall
WILMINGTON, Del. — The Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela and three affiliated entities on April 1 filed notice of appeal to the Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals challenging a Delaware federal judge’s ruling allowing a special master to prepare for an auction of their oil assets to pay off an arbitral award without a U.S. Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) license, which is required before any sale due to U.S. sanctions.
NEW YORK — A New York federal judge on March 31 dismissed an Indonesian company’s petition to confirm an arbitral award worth more than $16.9 million against an Indonesian government agency as time-barred, rejecting the company’s argument that the Federal Arbitration Act (FAA) three-year statute of limitations should be equitably tolled due to alleged “collusion” by the Indonesian government and courts.
ANCHORAGE, Alaska — Rejecting arguments based on a service of suit clause, an Alaska federal judge on March 30 granted a motion to dismiss a breach of contract and bad faith case regarding maritime insurance and compel arbitration in England.
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The government of Romania on March 29 moved in District of Columbia federal court for relief from judgments entered against it confirming an arbitral award worth approximately $350 million and ordering it to pay sanctions of $1.5 million, citing a European Union appellate panel’s ruling that it says deprives the district court of jurisdiction, while on the same day it filed an appellant brief in the District of Columbia Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals challenging the sanctions.
COLUMBIA, S.C. — Two South Carolina companies urge a federal court in a March 29 brief to grant their request to enforce the portion of an arbitral award prohibiting a Spanish company from using similar trade dress for its joint pain medication for dogs and to vacate the portion ordering them to pay more than $1 million in attorney fees, writing that the tribunal’s order on fees violates the parties’ contract.
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Resolving a circuit split, the U.S. Supreme Court on March 31 ruled that the Federal Arbitration Act (FAA) does not create federal jurisdiction over petitions to confirm or vacate arbitral awards and that courts must have an “independent jurisdictional basis” for addressing such petitions, finding in favor of the former employee of a financial advisory firm and reversing the Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals.
WASHINGTON, D.C. — An International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) tribunal on Feb. 22 rejected two coal power investors’ request to bifurcate an objection to the tribunal’s jurisdiction over an intra-EU arbitration that the Kingdom of the Netherlands is expected to file, as well as the investors’ request to block the Netherlands from suing in Germany to declare the arbitration inadmissible under EU law.
WASHINGTON, D.C. — A District of Columbia federal judge on March 24 stayed a petition from a group of shareholders to confirm an award worth more than $111 million for the termination of a satellite spectrum contract against the Republic of India pending the outcome of its appeal of the award in the Netherlands, and declined to decide if India waived its sovereign immunity or to order it to post security.
LOS ANGELES — A California federal judge on March 24 entered an amended judgment ordering a Hong Kong company to pay nearly $47,000 in attorney fees to a Hollywood studio that previously won an arbitral award worth approximately $3 million in a licensing dispute, following the court’s denial of the company’s petition to vacate on the grounds that it was improperly served at its office while its employees worked from home during the coronavirus pandemic.
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Supreme Court on March 28 denied a holding company’s petition for a writ of certiorari contending that the Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals created a circuit split by finding that a sale arranged by the United States of a yacht belonging to the Federal Republic of Nigeria was immune from attachment to satisfy an arbitral award worth more than $11 million.
NEW YORK — A New York federal judge on March 21 granted in part and denied in part an international gaming company’s claims in its action to enforce an arbitral award worth approximately $297 million, finding the forum proper and veil piercing adequately pleaded against a shareholder and two alter-ego companies while writing that reverse veil piercing was not warranted against several other defendants.
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Supreme Court on March 23 heard arguments from parties and the United States as amicus curiae in two consolidated cases addressing what kind of foreign arbitral tribunals U.S. courts may assist by ordering discovery under Title 28 U.S. Code Section 1782, which is the subject of a circuit split, and whether such discovery is required by the text of the statute or harms comity.
The Islamic Republic of Pakistan, its province Balochistan and Barrick Gold Corp., a Canadian mining company that is a partner in a joint venture that won an International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) award worth approximately $11 billion against Pakistan for a mining rights dispute, on March 20 announced that they have settled their dispute and agreed in principle to restart exploration at “one of the world’s largest undeveloped open pit copper-gold porphyry deposits.”
LONDON — An English judge on March 11 refused the State of Libya’s application to set aside an order enforcing an arbitral award worth more than 16 million British pounds against Libya after finding the award-creditor’s nondisclosures regarding Libya’s immunity and government “not significant,” but set aside the part of the order awarding the creditor its costs.
NEW YORK — A New York federal judge on March 16 ordered that a joint venture is entitled to attach up to $3 million of a Lebanese bank’s assets representing attorney fees won in an arbitration in 2021 but declined to attach the $97 million it is seeking as damages in a pending claim against the bank related to an alleged shareholder fraud, citing the damage such an attachment could cause the Lebanese economy.
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WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Supreme Court on March 9 distributed for conference a holding company’s petition for a writ of certiorari arguing that the Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals created a circuit split by finding the Federal Republic of Nigeria’s assets immune from attachment to satisfy an arbitral award worth more than $11 million after Nigeria and the United States waived their right to respond.
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Supreme Court on March 9 distributed for conference a petition for a writ of certiorari filed by the heirs of Saudi sheiks after an American oil company waived its right to respond to the heirs’ assertion that the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals violated the New York Convention, Federal Arbitration Act (FAA) and standards of impartiality in affirming the dismissal of their action to enforce an $18 billion arbitral award.
BOSTON — New Balance Athletics Inc. argues in a March 15 reply brief that the First Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals should reverse a district court’s ruling granting an Ecuadorian businessman and his Peruvian company’s petition to vacate an approximately $3.3 million arbitration award against them, saying their arguments challenging the arbitrator’s jurisdiction on appeal were waived during the arbitration.