New International Arbitration Study Offers Construction Dispute Insight

This article was published in Law360 on December 4, 2019. © Copyright 2019, Portfolio Media, Inc., publisher of Law360. It is republished here with permission.
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Albert Bates Jr.
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R. Zachary Torres-Fowler

On Nov. 21, the Queen Mary University of London School of International Arbitration, in partnership with the U.K.-based law firm Pinsent Masons LLP, released its ninth annual international arbitration survey focused on international construction disputes.

As a nod to the significance the construction industry plays in the field of international arbitration, the 2019 Queen Mary University survey marks the largest industry-specific survey its School of International Arbitration has ever conducted and offers insights that will undoubtedly be used for years to come.

While the survey data and accompanying report provide a granular level of analysis concerning a wide variety of topics, below are some of the key takeaways of interest to U.S. practitioners.

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Expanding Disclosure in International Arbitration: Sixth Circuit Rules That 28 U.S.C. § 1782 Permits Parties to Pursue Discovery in Support of Private Commercial International Arbitrations

Abdul Latif Jameel Trans. Co. v. FedEx Corp., No. 19-5315 (6th Cir. Sept. 19, 2019).

Albert Bates photo
Albert Bates Jr.
torresr_thumb
R. Zachary Torres-Fowler

In the world of international arbitration, where document disclosure is already relatively limited compared to practices in federal and state court, 28 U.S.C. § 1782 — titled “Assistance to foreign and international tribunals and to litigants before such tribunals” — has been a commonly overlooked tool for obtaining useful evidence in support of an international arbitration. In broad strokes, the statute permits a federal district court to require a person within the district to provide documents or testimony for use in a proceeding in a “foreign or international tribunal.”

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New York Appellate Court Affirms Decision to Deny Motion to Compel Arbitration in Multi-Billion Dollar Construction Dispute

BML Properties Ltd. v. China Construction America Inc., et al., 101 N.Y.S. 3d 597 (N.Y. App. Div. 2019)

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R. Zachary Torres-Fowler
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Ryan R. Deroo

On July 2, 2019, a New York appellate court upheld a lower court ruling by Justice Saliann Scarpulla, denying a state-backed Chinese contractor’s attempt to compel international arbitration arising out of a dispute involving the construction of the multibillion Baha Mar mega-resort in the Bahamas.  As a result of the ruling in BML Properties Ltd. v. China Construction America Inc., et al., 101 N.Y.S. 3d 597 (N.Y. App. Div. 2019), aff’ing No. 657550/2017 (N.Y. Sup. Ct. Jan. 24, 2019), the $2.25 billion lawsuit alleging “one of the largest construction-based frauds in this hemisphere” will remain in the New York courts.  As explained below, for those in the international construction industry, the case will be worth following.

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