Justia International Trade Opinion SummariesArticles Posted in Arbitration & Mediation
Zurich Am. Ins. Co. v. Team Tankers A.S.
The shipper petitioner appealed the district court's order confirming an arbitration award and award of attorney's fees and costs to the respondent carrier. The court concluded that the shipper has not established any ground for vacating the arbitral award. The court rejected the shipper's argument that the arbitral panel manifestly disregarded the substantive law of the Carriage of Goods by Sea Act (COGSA), 46 U.S.C. 30701, and the shipper's argument that the panel chairman was guilty of corruption or misbehavior because he failed to disclose his illness to the parties. The court affirmed the district court's order confirming the arbitration award. The court concluded, however, that there was no finding that the petitioner shipper breached the charter agreement. Accordingly, the court reversed the district court's award of attorney's fees and costs. View "Zurich Am. Ins. Co. v. Team Tankers A.S." on Justia Law
GEA Group AG v. Baker
In 2004 GEA, a German company, agreed to sell a subsidiary, DNK, to Flex‐N‐Gate, a U.S. manufacturer for €430 million. The contract required arbitration of all disputes in Germany. The sale did not close. GEA initiated arbitration before the Arbitral Tribunal of the German Institution of Arbitration. The arbitration was pending in 2009 when GEA filed suit in an Illinois federal district court, against Flex‐N‐Gate and its CEO, Khan, alleging that the defendants had fraudulently induced it to enter into the contract; that Khan stripped the company of assets so that it would be unable to pay any arbitration award; and that Khan was Flex‐N‐Gate’s alter ego. GEA then asked the district judge to stay proceedings, including discovery. The judge declined to stay discovery. GEA filed a notice of appeal after the German arbitration panel awarded GEA damages and costs totaling $293.3 million. The Seventh Circuit dismissed GEA’s appeal as moot, but the German Higher Regional Court in vacated the arbitration award. GEA renewed its motion. The district judge again denied the stay, stating that he was unsure how the arbitration would affect the case before him and didn’t want to wait to find out. The Seventh Circuit reversed. The district judge then imposed a stay, which it later lifted for the limited purpose of allowing Khan to conduct discovery aimed at preserving evidence that might be germane to GEA’s claims against him in the district court suit. The Seventh Circuit affirmed, first holding that it had appellate jurisdiction.View "GEA Group AG v. Baker" on Justia Law
Oracle America, Inc. v. Myriad Group A.G.
This case stemmed from a dispute between the parties over license agreements which allowed Myriad access to Oracle's Java programming language. On appeal, Myriad challenged the district court's partial denial of its motion to compel arbitration. The court concluded that the incorporation of the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL) arbitration rules into the parties' commercial contract constituted clear and unmistakable evidence that the parties agreed to arbitrate arbitrability. Accordingly, the court reversed and remanded for further proceedings. View "Oracle America, Inc. v. Myriad Group A.G." on Justia Law
InterDigital Commc’ns, LLC v. Int’l Trade Comm’n
In 2006 InterDigital granted LG a license to certain patents concerning devices capable of wireless voice or data communications, including devices designed to operate in accordance with second-generation (2G) wireless standards and devices designed to operate in accordance with third-generation (3G) wireless standards. After the contract terminated, InterDigital filed a complaint with the International Trade Commission, claiming violation of the Tariff Act, 19 U.S.C. 1337, by importing devices that infringed patents relating to 3G wireless technology. The ITC terminated the investigation as to LG, based on an arbitration clause in the contract. The Federal Circuit reversed, holding that there was no plausible argument that the case arose from the patent license contract between the companies. View "InterDigital Commc'ns, LLC v. Int'l Trade Comm'n" on Justia Law
Johnson Controls, Inc. v. Edman Controls, Inc.
Johnson Controls, a Wisconsin manufacturer of building management systems and HVAC equipment, and Edman Controls entered into an agreement giving Edman exclusive rights to distribute Johnson’s products in Panama. In 2009, Johnson breached the agreement by attempting to sell its products directly to Panamanian developers, circumventing Edman. Edman invoked the agreement’s arbitration clause. The arbitrator concluded that Johnson had breached the agreement and that Edman was entitled to damages. Johnson sought to vacate or modify the arbitral award, challenging the way in which the award took account of injuries to Edman’s subsidiaries and the arbitrator’s alleged refusal to follow Wisconsin law. The district court ruled in Edman’s favor. The Seventh Circuit affirmed and upheld the district court’s award of attorney fees. View "Johnson Controls, Inc. v. Edman Controls, Inc." on Justia Law
Schneider v. Kingdom of Thailand
Germany and Thailand signed a treaty, providing that disputes concerning investments between Germany or Thailand and an investor of the other party may be resolved by arbitration at the request of either party. The treaty applies to “approved investments” made before the treaty by investors of either country in the territory of the other. Bau initiated arbitration, claiming that Thailand had interfered with investments made, 1989-1997, in a Thai tollway project. An arbitration tribunal convened under agreed terms, which empowered the tribunal to consider objections to jurisdiction and provided that U.N. Commission on International Trade Law Arbitration Rules would apply. Thailand objected to jurisdiction on the ground that Bau’s were not “approved investments” because Bau never obtained a “Certificate of Admission” from Thailand’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Bau responded that the project was comprised of “approved investments” because Bau was invited to make the investments by the Thai Council of Ministers, which approved the project at various stages, and because the Thai Board of Investment issued certificates of investment for the project. The tribunal held that it had jurisdiction and made an award in favor of Bau. The district court confirmed. The Second Circuit affirmed, rejecting an argument that the court should have independently adjudicated jurisdiction instead of performing deferential review.View "Schneider v. Kingdom of Thailand" on Justia Law
Control Screening LLC v. Technological Application & Prod. Co.
CS manufactures and sells X-ray and metal detection devices for use in public facilities around the world. Tecapro is a private, state-owned company that was formed by the Vietnamese government to advanced technologies into the Vietnamese market. In 2010, Tecapro purchased 28 customized AutoClear X-ray machines from CS for $1,021,156. The contract provides that disputes shall be settled at International Arbitration Center of European countries for claim in the suing party’s country under the rule of the Center. Tecapro initiated arbitration proceedings in Belgium in November 2010. In December 2010, CS notified Tecapro of its intention to commence arbitration proceedings in New Jersey. In January 2011, CS filed its petition to compel arbitration in New Jersey and enjoin Tecapro from proceeding with arbitration in Belgium. The district court concluded that it had subject matter jurisdiction under the U.N.Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards, that it had personal jurisdiction over Tecapro, and that Tecapro could have sought to arbitrate in Vietnam and CS in New Jersey. The latter is what happened, so “the arbitration shall proceed in New Jersey.” After determining that it had jurisdiction under the Federal Arbitration Act, 9 U.S.C. 1, the Third Circuit affirmed.View "Control Screening LLC v. Technological Application & Prod. Co." on Justia Law
In re: Application of Consorcio Ecuatoriano
This case arose from a foreign shipping contract billing dispute between Consorcio Ecuatoriano de Telecomunicaciones S.A. (CONECEL) and Jet Air Service Equador S.A. (JASE). CONECEL filed an application in the Southern District of Florida under 28 U.S.C. 1782 to obtain discovery for use in foreign proceedings in Ecuador. According to CONECEL, the foreign proceedings included both a pending arbitration brought by JASE against CONECEL for nonpayment under the contract, and contemplated civil and private criminal suits CONECEL might bring against two of its former employees who, CONECEL claims, may have violated Ecuador's collusion laws in connection with processing and approving JASE's allegedly inflated invoices. CONECEL's application sought discovery from JASE's United States counterpart, JAS Forwarding (USA), Inc. (JAS USA), which does business in Miami and was involved in the invoicing operations at issue in the dispute. The district court granted the application and authorized CONECEL to issue a subpoena. Thereafter, JASE intervened and moved to quash the subpoena and vacate the order granting the application. The district court denied the motion, as well as a subsequent motion for reconsideration. JASE appealed the denial of both. After thorough review and having had the benefit of oral argument, the Eleventh Circuit affirmed the orders of the district court. the Court concluded that the panel before which which JASE and CONECEL's dispute was pending acts as a first-instance decisionmaker; it permits the gathering and submission of evidence; it resolves the dispute; it issues a binding order; and its order is subject to judicial review. The discovery statute requires nothing more. The Court also held that the district court did not abuse its considerable discretion in granting the section 1782 discovery application over JASE's objections that it would be forced to produce proprietary and confidential information. The application was narrowly tailored and primarily requested information concerning JASE's billing of CONECEL, which was undeniably at issue in the current dispute between the parties." Finally, the district court did not abuse its discretion in denying JASE's motion for reconsideration. View "In re: Application of Consorcio Ecuatoriano" on Justia Law
India Steamship Co. Ltd. v. Kobil Petroleum Ltd.
Plaintiff appealed from an order of the district court vacating the attachment, pursuant to Rule B of the Supplemental Rules for Admiralty or Maritime Claims and Asset Forfeiture Actions of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, of a check issued by the district court clerk made payable to defendant. At issue was whether the validity of a Rule B attachment of a treasury check issued from the Southern District's Court Registry Investment System (CRIS), representing the proceeds of electronic funds transfers whose attachment was vacated under Shipping Corp. of India Ltd. v. Jaldhi Overseas Pte Ltd. The court held that the jurisdictional defect that led to the vacatur under Jaldhi likewise precluded the attachment of the same funds in the CRIS. Accordingly, the judgment was affirmed. View "India Steamship Co. Ltd. v. Kobil Petroleum Ltd." on Justia Law
Smallwood v. Allied Van Lines, Inc., et al.
This case arose when plaintiff hired defendant to move some of his household goods from southern California to the United Arab Emirates (UAE). When the UAE officials discovered plaintiff's box of firearms and ammunition, they arrested him, imprisoned him for 11 days, and tricked him into pleading guilty to smuggling firearms. Plaintiff alleged that he was facing deportation from the UAE and sued defendant based on various tort and contract theories. At issue was whether defendant could compel plaintiff to arbitrate pursuant to the contract's foreign arbitration clause in its shipment contract. The court affirmed the judgment of the district court and held that the district court correctly interpreted the Carmack Amendment, 49 U.S.C. 14706, to preclude foreign arbitration clauses and the Carmack Amendment, having been enacted subsequent to the federal arbitration statutes, controlled this case. View "Smallwood v. Allied Van Lines, Inc., et al." on Justia Law