Articles Posted in Arbitration & Mediation

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CBF, appellants and award-creditors, challenged the district court's two judgments dismissing CBF's initial action to enforce and subsequent action to confirm a foreign arbitral award against appellees as alter-egos of the then defunct award-debtor. The court granted appellees' petition for rehearing for the limited purpose of vacating the original decision and simultaneously issuing this amended decision to correct the court's instructions to the district court with regards to the applicable law for an enforcement action at Section I.c., infra. In No. 15‐1133, the court held that the district court both (1) erred in determining that the United Nations Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards and Chapter 2 of the Federal Arbitration Act, 9 U.S.C. 201 et seq., require appellants to seek confirmation of a foreign arbitral award before the award may be enforced by a United States District Court and (2) erred in holding that appellants' fraud claims should be dismissed prior to discovery on the ground of issue preclusion as issue preclusion was an equitable doctrine and appellants plausibly alleged that appellees engaged in fraud. Therefore, the court vacated the judgment and remanded for further proceedings. In 15‐1146, the court held that the appeal of the judgment dismissing the action to confirm was moot and accordingly dismissed that appeal. View "CBF Industria De Gusa S/A v. AMCI Holdings, Inc." on Justia Law

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CBF, appellants and award-creditors, challenged the district court's two judgments dismissing CBF's initial action to enforce and subsequent action to confirm a foreign arbitral award against appellees as alter-egos of the then defunct award-debtor. The court held that the district court erred in determining that the United Nations Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards and Chapter 2 of the Federal Arbitration Act, 9 U.S.C. 201 et seq., require appellants to seek confirmation of a foreign arbitral award before the award may be enforced by a United States District Court, and in holding that appellants’ fraud claims should be dismissed prior to discovery on the ground of issue preclusion as issue preclusion is an equitable doctrine and appellants plausibly allege that appellees engaged in fraud. In No. 15-1133, the court vacated the dismissal of the action to enforce and remanded for further proceedings. In No. 15-1146, the court found the appeal of the district court's order in the action to conform is moot and dismissed the appeal. View "CBF Industria De Gusa S/A v. AMCI Holdings, Inc." on Justia Law

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The parties cross appeal the district court's grant in part and denial in part of a motion for a preliminary injunction to bar enforcement of three local laws restricting operations at a public airport located in and owned and operated by the Town of East Hampton, New York. The district court enjoined the enforcement of only one of the challenged laws—imposing a weekly flight limit—concluding that it reflected a likely unreasonable exercise of the Town’s reserved proprietary authority which is excepted from federal preemption by the Airline Deregulation Act of 1978 (ADA), 49 U.S.C. 41713(b)(3). Plaintiffs contend that none of the challenged laws falls within the ADA’s proprietor exception to federal preemption because the Town failed to comply with the procedural requirements of the Airport Noise and Capacity Act of 1990 (ANCA), 49 U.S.C. 47521–47534, in enacting them. The court identified merit in plaintiffs’ ANCA argument and resolved these cross appeals on that basis without needing to address the Town’s proprietor exception challenge. The court concluded that plaintiffs (1) can invoke equity jurisdiction to enjoin enforcement of the challenged laws; and (2) are likely to succeed on their preemption claim because it appears undisputed that the Town enacted all three laws without complying with ANCA’s procedural requirements, which apply to public airport operators regardless of their federal funding status. The court affirmed the district court’s order insofar as it enjoins enforcement of the weekly flight‐limit law, but vacated the order insofar as it declines to enjoin enforcement of the other two challenged laws. Accordingly, the court remanded to the district court for the entry of a preliminary injunction as to all three laws and for further proceedings. View "Friends of The East Hampton Airport v. Town of East Hampton" on Justia Law

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Plaintiff signed an arbitration agreement providing that any disputes between her and her payday lender would be resolved by arbitration before the National Arbitration Forum (NAF). When plaintiff tried to take her case to arbitration, however, NAF refused to accept it pursuant to a consent decree that prohibited NAF from accepting consumer arbitrations. The court agreed with the district court that the arbitration agreement contemplated arbitration only before NAF and thus affirmed the district court's decision declining to compel arbitration before a different arbitrator. View "Moss v. First Premier Bank" on Justia Law

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Petitioner commenced arbitration against his former employers, who are both members of FINRA. This appeal stems from the dismissal of a petition to vacate an arbitral award pursuant to section 10 of the Federal Arbitration Act (FAA), 9 U.S.C. 10. The district court held that internal FINRA rules do not present questions of federal law, and that plaintiff's reliance on his section 10(b) claim was “squarely foreclosed” by Greenberg v. Bear, Stearns & Co. Because the petition does not present a facial claim of any manifest disregard of federal law, the court must decide whether Greenberg remains good law in light of the Supreme Court's decision in Vaden v. Discover Bank. The court concluded that Vaden not only cast doubt on the court's precedent but rendered its holding fundamentally inconsistent with the Supreme Court’s analysis of jurisdictional inquiries under the Act. Accordingly, the court overruled Greenberg and concluded that federal courts may “look through” section 10 petitions, applying the ordinary principles of federal‐question jurisdiction to the underlying dispute as defined by Vaden. The court vacated and remanded for further proceedings. View "Doscher v. Sea Port" on Justia Law

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COMMISA contracted with PEP to build oil platforms in the Gulf of Mexico. When the parties accused each other of breach of contract, COMMISA initiated arbitration proceedings, prevailed, and obtained an award of approximately $300 million. The district court then affirmed the award and PEP appealed, while simultaneously attacking the arbitral award in the Mexican courts. The court held that the Southern District properly exercised its discretion in confirming the award because giving effect to the subsequent nullification of the award in Mexico would run counter to United States public policy and would (in the operative phrasing) be “repugnant to fundamental notions of what is decent and just” in this country; PEP’s personal jurisdiction and venue objections are without merit; and the Southern District did not exceed its authority by including in its judgment $106 million attributed to performance bonds that PEP collected. Accordingly, the court affirmed the judgment. View "Corporacion Mexicana De Mantenimiento Integral v. Pemex-Exploracion" on Justia Law

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This case arose when Leeward and AUA entered into an agreement for Leeward to build a medical school for AUA in Antigua. AUA subsequently appealed the district court's confirmation of an international arbitration award entered in favor of Leeward. AUA principally argues that the district court erred in confirming the award because the arbitration panel failed to fulfill its obligation to produce a reasoned award.The court held, however, that an arbitration decision need not contain a line‐by‐line analysis of damages awarded to be considered a reasoned award. Rather, an arbitration award is a reasoned award when it contains a substantive discussion of the panel’s rationale. The court considered AUA's remaining arguments and found them to be without merit. Accordingly, the court affirmed the judgment. The court disposed of Case No. 15-1595-cv in a separate summary order issued concurrently with this decision. View "Leeward Construction Co. v. American Univ. of Antigua" on Justia Law

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The NFL suspended New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady for four games because of his involvement in a scheme to deflate footballs during the 2015 AFC Championship Game. After Brady requested arbitration, League Commissioner Roger Goodell, who served as arbitrator, entered an award confirming the discipline. The district court vacated the award based on the reasoning that Brady lacked notice that his conduct was prohibited and punishable by suspension, and that the manner in which the proceedings were conducted deprived him of fundamental fairness. The court concluded that the Commissioner properly exercised his broad discretion to resolve an intramural controversy between the League and a player. In their collective bargaining agreement, the players and the League mutually decided many years ago that the Commissioner should investigate possible rule violations, should impose appropriate sanctions, and may preside at arbitration challenging his discipline. In this case, the court concluded that Brady received adequate notice that deflation of footballs could lead to suspension, the Commissioner's decision to exclude testimony from NFL General Counsel fits within his broad discretion to admit or exclude evidence and raises no questions of fundamental fairness, and there is no fundamental unfairness in the Commissioner's denial of notes and memoranda generated by the investigative team where the collective bargaining agreement does not require the exchange of such notes. The court concluded that the Association's remaining claims are without merit. Accordingly, the court reversed the judgment of the district court and remanded. View "NFL Mgmt. Council v. NFL Players Ass'n" on Justia Law

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Five former employees of Credit Suisse began arbitration proceedings before FINRA concerning employment-related disputes. The employees had entered into employment agreements with Credit Suisse that included provisions to resolve all employment‐related disputes by arbitration before a private arbitration provider.Credit Suisse sought to compel the employees to dismiss the FINRA arbitration and pursue their claims in a non‐FINRA arbitral forum. The district court granted Credit Suisse's petition and entered judgment ordering the employees to pursue their claims in a non‐FINRA arbitral forum. The court concluded that FINRA Rule 13200 does not prohibit the enforcement of pre‐dispute waivers of a FINRA arbitral forum. Accordingly, the court affirmed the district court's judgment. View "Credit Suisse Secs. LLC v. Tracy" on Justia Law

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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