The US IA Digest collects in one place important decisions on US international arbitration case law issued since January 1, 2016, compiled and organized into categories that are most relevant and useful to practitioners and other interested parties. The Digest will be updated on a rolling basis as new decisions are issued.
Court of appeals reversed district court’s dismissal of attorney’s claims for fees related to a foreign arbitration proceeding on grounds of lack of subject matter jurisdiction and remanded for the district court to grant attorney’s motion to intervene and consider his claims on the merits. Court held that the New York Convention conferred jurisdiction on the court to consider attorney’s claim for contingency fees because his alleged interest in the award for services rendered “relates to” the arbitration award within the meaning of 9 USC § 205. Court also found attorney met the requirements to intervene as of right.
Court granted motion to lift stay and dismissed the case with prejudice, as the AAA tribunal had issued awards dispositive of plaintiffs’ claims and the arbitration proceedings were closed. Pursuant to the FAA, the court denied plaintiffs’ challenges contesting the enforcement of the awards on public policy grounds and claims the arguments did not fall within the scope of the arbitral agreement. Court rejected plaintiffs’ claims that the awards should be vacated under § 10 of the FAA.
Smarter Tools Inc. v. Chongqing SENCI Import & Export Trade Co., Ltd., No. 1:18-CV-02714-AJN (S.D.N.Y. March 26, 2019)
Court denied petitioner’s motion to vacate an arbitration award and denied respondent’s cross-petition for confirmation of the award and remanded the issue to the arbitrator for clarification of the award. Court found that the arbitrator exceeded its authority in failing to issue a reasoned award, where the award contained no reason for rejecting petitioner’s claims, but rejected petitioner’s argument that the arbitrator manifestly disregarded the law in failing to apply the UN Convention on Contracts for the International Sale of Goods. Court concluded the proper remedy for failure to issue a reasoned award was not to vacate the award but to remand to the arbitrator.
Compania de Inversiones Mercantiles S.A. v. Grupo Cementos de Chihuahua, S.A.B. de C.V., No. 1:15-CV-02120-JLK (D. Colo. March 25, 2019)
Court granted motion to confirm foreign arbitral award under the New York Convention. Court found that the merits award was not set aside by a competent authority in Bolivia and that the damages award was binding under the New York Convention despite an ongoing annulment proceeding. Court held a stay was unwarranted.
Court of appeals affirmed the decision of the district court that plaintiff’s RICO claims against one defendant must be pursued in arbitration because they fell within the scope of a binding arbitration agreement. Court concluded that claims against the defendant’s wife were subject to arbitration because they were derivative of the claims against him. Court held that plaintiff’s RICO claims were time barred under the four-year statute of limitations as applied to the defendant non-party to the arbitration agreement.