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FREEHILL PREVAILS IN SECOND CIRCUIT COURT OF APPEALS IN INTERNATIONAL ARBITRATION CASE

On March 5, 2020, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the judgment of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York in a case involving  international arbitration. In China Shipping Container Lines Co. Ltd, v. Big Port Service DMCC our client, China Shipping Container Lines (“CSCL”), the owner of the vessel M/V XIN CHANG, contracted with OW Bunker China for the supply of marine fuel. The fuel allegedly was ultimately physically supplied by Big Port Services (“BPS”) which had been contracted by OW Bunker Singapore. OW Bunker Singapore went bankrupt without paying BPS and BPS arrested the vessel in Singapore and demanded arbitration in New York under the CSCL/OW Bunker China contract. CSCL put up $2.6M in security to release the vessel from arrest and then moved to dismiss BPS’ suit in Singapore on the grounds that there was no contract between CSCL and BPS. After appeals to the highest court of Singapore, BPS’ claims were dismissed, the arrest was set aside, and the security released. BPS then attempted to pursue arbitration in New York. CSCL initiated an action in New York seeking a declaratory judgment that there was no agreement to arbitrate between the parties and an order enjoining any arbitration proceeding. The District Court issued an order permanently enjoining arbitration and declaring there was no agreement to arbitrate between CSCL and BPS. The Court of Appeals affirmed that judgment.

This case was successfully handled by partner Gina Venezia and associate Mike Dehart. Ms. Venezia argued the appeal on February 27, 2020. To read the Second Circuit opinion, click HERE.