Recent Posts

March 31, 2014

What Makes An Award An Award?: Thoughts About Enforcement of the Decisions of Experts and Appraisers

A new decision from the US District Court in New York revisits a question that crops up sporadically: Is an agreement for binding expert determination of a discrete non-legal issue an agreement to arbitrate, such that the expert’s determination may be treated as an award? Answering yes, the Court in Seed Holdings Inc. v. Jiffy Intern. AS, 2014 WL 1141717 (S.D.N.Y. Mar. 21, 2014), held that the expert’s decision pursuant to an agreement for binding resolution of a post-closing price adjustment by an independent accountant in a cross-border sale of assets agreement (Canada-US) fell under the New York Convention, with…
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February 23, 2014

US (Non-) Enforcement of Annulled Foreign Awards: Shall We Welcome A Dash of French Eccentricity?

It seems that we never tire of thinking, and writing, about “Chromalloy“. That famous 1996 case from a federal district court in Washington D.C. (939 F. Supp. 907) has given its name, at least for the US arbitration community, to a body of case law and legal theory concerning the circumstances in which a court in one country might recognize and enforce, under the New York Convention and its own arbitration law, a foreign arbitration award that has been set aside by a competent court at the seat of the arbitration or (more rarely) by the competent court of a…
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February 01, 2014

New York Confronts Archaic Obstacle to Award Enforcement Against Assets Held in Bank Branches Abroad

There may shortly be a dramatic change in the powers of an unpaid Award Creditor to use New York’s courts to seize Award Debtor assets held in foreign bank accounts. If the change occurs, Award Creditors will be able to require foreign banks that have a New York branch to deliver to the creditor in New York assets held in foreign branches to satisfy a judgment enforcing an international arbitration award. The implications for international arbitrations seated in New York, and for New York’s attractiveness as an arbitral seat, are considerable. The stage has been set for this potential change…
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January 29, 2014

Judicial Discretion to Allow Proceedings on Related Non-Arbitrable Claims

Today we will applaud a new decision of the US Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals that sustains a district court judge’s refusal to stay all discovery in a litigation mainly involving arbitrable issues in a pending foreign arbitration. (GEA Group AG v. Flex-N-Gate Corp., 2014 WL 97289 (7th Cir. Jan. 10, 2014)).  Such applause may strike readers as anomalous, if not heretical. But this is a special case, and the treatment of the issues by the eminent jurist Richard A. Posner deserves our close attention. Matters begin simply enough. A US company gets cold feet on the eve of a…
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January 02, 2014

Congratulations On Your New Appointment. Or Was It Only A Nomination?

Under the arbitration rules of many arbitral institutions around the world, a nominated arbitrator-candidate only becomes an appointed arbitrator when the administering institution, acting through the administrative body identified in its Rules, notifies the candidate that he or she has been appointed (or as the terminology appears in some rules, “confirmed”).  A quick review indicates that this is the case under the arbitration rules of the ICC, LCIA, CPR, SIAC, Kuala Lumpur Centre and Vienna Centre, and under the Swiss Rules. The arbitrators must await a formal notification of appointment from the institution that follows after the nominated arbitrator candidate…
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December 26, 2013

Do Rule 45 Amendments Impact The Arbitral Subpoena Power?

Certain amendments to Rule 45 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure became effective December 1, 2013. This is the Rule governing all aspects of obtaining evidence from non-parties by subpoena in federal civil proceedings.  The amendments have potential relevance to arbitral practice for arbitrations that have their seat in the United States, as Section 7 of the Federal Arbitration Act (“FAA”) in certain respects equates arbitral subpoena power with judicial subpoena power, and in certain respects equates judicial power to compel compliance or punish non-compliance with an arbitral subpoena with the court’s powers in regard to judicial subpoenas. Most…
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