On September 4, 2019, the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York granted our motion to dismiss a petition to confirm a $2.8 billion (including interest) arbitration award against our client the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (“NNPC”). Petitioners were Nigerian subsidiaries of ExxonMobil Corporation and Royal Dutch Shell plc, who came to New York for enforcement after the courts in Nigeria had set aside the award because it arose from a tax dispute that was not arbitrable under Nigerian law. Judge William H. Pauley accepted our argument that the case presented no basis for a US court to second guess decisions of the courts in Nigeria, the seat of the arbitration. The court noted that “Esso—a Nigerian company—executed a contract with another Nigerian corporation containing an arbitration clause requiring any arbitration to be held in Nigeria under Nigerian law, and it then sought to confirm the Award in Nigeria.” Moreover, he explained, “[w]hile Esso may not agree with the result,” the Nigerian Court of Appeal conducted a “fulsome analysis” and “applied the relevant statutes and case law.”
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