Recent Posts

May 17, 2011

Party’s Right to Appoint Replacement Co-Arbitrator is Inherent in Agreement, US Court Holds

A US district judge in Manhattan held last week that a party’s right to appoint a replacement co-arbitrator upon resignation of its original appointee is inherent in an arbitration agreement that provides for party-appointed arbitrators, even when there is nothing specifically stated about replacement of an arbitrator who resigns. The Court so ruled in an ongoing reinsurance arbitration  (Northwestern Nat’l Ins. Co. v. Insco, Ltd., 2011 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 50789 (S.D.N.Y. May 12, 2011)). In an arbitration marked by charges of bias and conflict of interest against the presiding arbitrator and the respondent reinsurer’s party appointee, the latter eventually resigned…
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May 11, 2011

Arbitral Award of Legal Fees Upheld Despite No Specific Grant of Power in the Arbitration Clause

We are reminded by a painstaking recent opinion issued by a federal district judge in Manhattan that New York State arbitration law often will have a very limited role to play when the parties elect to conduct arbitration in New York under a contract that contains a general choice of law provision selecting New York law. This is certainly true for U.S. domestic arbitration, and should apply equally to international arbitration where the parties’ choice of New York as a seat of arbitration should reasonably imply that they have selected U.S. federal arbitration law, and not also the laws of…
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May 04, 2011

Written Direct Testimony Gains Favor in US Courts: A Precursor for Domestic Arbitration Hearing Practice?

Written witness statements in lieu of oral testimony on direct examination have long been a staple of international arbitration hearing practice.  Civil trial practice in the United States, however, has long followed the custom of oral direct examination of witnesses on each party’s case-in-chief.  Practice in U.S. domestic arbitration has followed the custom in the trial courts. But adoption of written direct testimony as a civil trial convention may be the new wave in U.S. trial practice. Among the 16 judges of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York who revised their individual rules of practice…
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April 28, 2011

First Thoughts on AT&T Mobility v. Concepcion: An Opportunistic Reformulation of Federal Arbitration Law

On April 27, 2011, some 86 years after the passage of the US Federal Arbitration Act (“FAA”), five justices of the United States Supreme Court declared that arbitration “as envisioned by the FAA” does not include class arbitration because class arbitration cases (i) predictably involve high stakes which arbitrators are not suited to handle, (ii) predictably involve an unacceptable risk of unreviewable arbitral error because of the high stakes, (iii) invariably require procedural formality that is at odds with arbitration’s “principal advantage” of informality, and (iv) invariably require that formal rules be applied by arbitrators who, as a group, are…
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April 26, 2011

Denial of Award Enforcement Under Article III “Rules of Procedure”: An Expanded Commentary on Zeevi Holdings v. Republic of Bulgaria

Recently a US district judge in New York dismissed, for improper venue, a New York Convention award-enforcement action against the Republic of Bulgaria by an Israeli company that had won a $10.3 million award against Bulgaria and its Privatization Agency in an ad hoc UNCITRAL Rules arbitration in Paris. The basis for dismissal was that the sales contract between the Agency and the Israeli firm (for purchase of a controlling stake in Bulgaria’s state-owned airline) contained a forum selection clause providing that “execution” of any Award “against the Seller” would be conducted exclusively in Bulgarian courts. (Zeevi Holdings Ltd. v….
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April 15, 2011

US Court Dismisses Convention Enforcement Case Based on Forum Selection Clause

Last week a US district judge in New York dismissed, for improper venue, a New York Convention award-enforcement action, against the Republic of Bulgaria, by an Israeli company that had won a $10.3 million award against Bulgaria and its Privatization Agency after an ad hoc UNCITRAL Rules arbitration in Paris. The basis for dismissal was that the sales contract between the Agency and the Israeli firm (for purchase of a controlling stake in Bulgaria’s state-owned airline) provided that “execution” of any Award “against the Seller” would be conducted exclusively in Bulgarian courts. (Zeevi Holdings Ltd. v. Republic of Bulgaria, 2011…
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