Recent Posts

February 24, 2010

Enforcement of Convention Award Against Sovereign Not a Convention Member State

A recent judgment of the Hong Kong Court of Appeal addresses in painstaking detail the sovereign immunity issues implicated when enforcement and execution are sought of a private arbitration award which, while made in the territory of a Member State of the New York Convention, runs against a sovereign state that is not itself a Member State of the Convention. (FG Hemisphere Assocs. v. Democratic Republic of the Congo, CACV 373/2008 & CACV 43/2009, unpublished judgment, copy available from this writer). Two members of the three-judge panel agreed, and held, that (i) at the time of transfer of Hong Kong…
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February 18, 2010

The Court of Arbitration for Sport: An Olympic Viewer’s Guide

Five-time Olympic champion German speed skater Claudia Pechstein today awaits a decision from an arbitral tribunal of the ad hoc Division of the Court of Arbitration for Sport (“CAS”), hoping for a reprieve from a two-year suspension imposed a year ago when blood tests indicated use of performance enhancing drugs. Respondents in the case are the German National Olympic Committee and the International Olympic Committee. The International Skating Union also appears as an interested party. Ms. Pechstein previously lost an appeal of the suspension before another CAS arbitral tribunal in November 2009, and last month the Federal Supreme Court of…
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February 11, 2010

Preclusive Effect of Prior Award is Arbitrable Issue

A federal district judge in Indiana last week commendably resisted the temptation to impose a permanent stay of an ICDR arbitration that arguably was brought to reopen and relitigate issues decided in an earlier award that had been confirmed by the District Court and uphed by the US Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals. Citing a decision written by Justice Sonia Sotomayor when she was a federal district judge in Manhattan (North River Ins. Co. v. Allstate Ins. Co., 866 F. Supp. 123 (S.D.N.Y. 1994)), the Court held that the preclusive effect of the prior arbitration award is itself an arbitrable…
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February 02, 2010

Evident Partiality: Should Judges Review the Merits for Evidence of Bias?

When a U.S. District Court Judge vacates an arbitration award on grounds of “evident partiality,” it is an occasion for the arbitration community to take a careful look, to see if the arbitrator’s conduct was clearly improper, or if instead there has been an overzealous judicial intrusion. Therefore, I consider here a new decision last week by a federal judge in Detroit, vacating an award on grounds of the presiding arbitrator’s evident partiality. The Thomas Kinkade Co. v. Lighthouse Galleries, Inc., 2010 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 6443 (E.D. Mich., Jan. 27, 2010). After four years of proceedings, after the end of…
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January 30, 2010

Understanding UNCITRAL’s Revised Arbitration Rules: A Spectator’s Guide to the Upcoming New York Working Group Session

On the eve of the 52d Session of the UNCITRAL Working Group II (Arbitration and Conciliation), which convenes at the United Nations in New York on February 1 for a five-day deliberation, arbitration practitioners in the United States have just been reminded, by a decision of the influential Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals, that when parties agree to arbitrate under arbitration rules like those of the UNCITRAL, they bargain for the nearly unreviewable discretion of the arbitrator in the interpretation of those rules. As the UNCITRAL Working Group undertakes its “third reading” of the proposed revised UNCITRAL Arbitration Rules,…
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January 27, 2010

Mediator Tactics to Solve the Stubborn Case

(Marc J. Goldstein acts from time to time as a mediator in commercial arbitrations and commercial cases in state and federal courts in the United States. Beginning with this post, Arbitration Commentaries will occasionally be a forum for mediation commentaries as well.) A not unusual dynamic in the mediation of complex cases is that one party insists, through the course of a full day of mediation or even multiple sessions, that it will not make a material move toward settlement, and that it would rather try the case, and yet the same party expresses willingness to continue the mediation and…
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