The case of the day is Orange Middle East & Africa v. Republic of Equatorial Guinea (D.D.C. 2016). Orange and the Republic of Equatorial Guinea were the shareholders of a telecommunications company providing service in Equatorial Guinea. The government was the majority shareholder. After some disputes arose, the parties entered into a settlement agreement, which required the government to purchase Orange’s shares if it granted a telecommunications license to a third party. The agreement provided for arbitration of disputes in Paris under the ICC rules.
In 2011, the government granted a third party a license, but it failed to purchase Orange’s shares. Orange demanded arbitration. The arbitrators awarded Orange more than € 131 million. The government sought to set aside the award, but the Court of Appeals in Paris authorized enforcement of the award.
Orange sought to confirm the award in Washington. The government moved to dismiss for insufficient service of process.
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The case of the day is Villoldo v. Castro (1st Cir. 2016). Westlaw calls the case Villoldo v. Ruz. I’m no Spanish naming convention expert, but that seems clearly wrong. Anyway, Alfredo and Gustavo Villoldo were Cuban brothers. In 1959, the Cuban government confiscated their father’s property and threatened them, even after they fled to Miami. The brothers sued the Cuban government and high officials, namely Fidel and Raul Castro, in the Florida state court in 2008. The Florida case ended in a $2.79 billion default judgment. The brothers then sued on the Florida judgment in the federal court in New York. Again, the case ended in a default judgment. The brothers registered the judgment in the District of Massachusetts, and the District Court authorized them to seek an attachment. So the brothers served a subpoena on Computershare, a transfer agent in Canton, Massachusetts. Computershare produced documents identifying hundreds of securities accounts blocked under the Cuban Assets Control Regulations. The brothers moved for an order requiring Computershare to turn over the accounts and filed a trustee process complaint against Computershare. Computershare argued that the accounts were not the property of Cuba and thus could not be turned over to satisfy the judgment. After some procedural complexities, the district court ultimately concluded that the accounts were not subject to the turnover order.
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The case of the day is GMI, LLC v. Asociación del Fútbol Argentino (Fla. Dist. Ct. App. 2016). GMI had an agreement with the AFA, the sport’s governing body in Argentina, for the exclusive right to market and sell AFA’s football marketing rights for a twenty-year term. The agreement provided that AFA would not make any payments to GMI, but rather, that AFA would reach an agreement with the prospective buyer for GMI’s compensation. GMI arranged for the Republic of Argentina to purchase the rights. But according to GMI, Argentina and AFA then muscled GMI out of the deal, completing the purchase and sale but not paying GMI anything. GMI sued AFA in the Florida court for breach of contract. AFA moved to dismiss on the grounds that the Republic of Argentina was an indispensable party that could not be joined. The court granted the motion, and GMI appealed.
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