On Mach 3, 2020 Judge Gregory Woods of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York issued an Opinion and Order confirming an arbitration award obtained on January 31, 2019 in the Arbitration Between Pioneer Navigation Ltd. and Chemical Equipment Labs, Inc. In the arbitration proceeding we sought damages on behalf of a shipowner whose vessel was chartered by Chemical Equipment Labs to carry road salt from Venezuela to the U.S. After the charterer was unable to load the vessel for three weeks it terminated the charter party contract,  claiming a force majeure event, on the basis that government intervention prevented loading. In response we argued that the charterer had failed to secure the appropriate export authorization and that, therefore, the failure to load was not a force majeure event. We prevailed at arbitration, receiving an award in our client’s favor of $880,000. 

When the charterer failed to pay the award we moved to confirm the arbitration award and the charterer cross-moved to vacate. The motions were referred to Magistrate Judge Aaron who filed a Report and Recommendation concluding that “[t]he panel majority applied correct law regarding force majeure.” The opposition then filed objections to the Report and Recommendation of the Magistrate Judge, to which we responded.  After considering the opposition’s objection to and our arguments in support of the Magistrate Judge’s Report and Recommendation, Judge Woods accepted and adopted the “thorough and well-reasoned Report and Recommendation in its entirety.”

The motion to confirm was handled by Freehill partner Peter Gutowski and associate Yaakov Adler.  To read Judge Woods’ Opinion and Order click HERE.