United States District Court, S.D. New York
May 5, 2005.
CHEMICAL OVERSEAS HOLDINGS, INC., CREDIT SUISSE FIRST BOSTON, and DRESDNER BANK LATEINAMERIKA AG, Petitioners,
REPUBLICA ORIENTAL DEL URUGUAY, Respondent.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: GERARD E. LYNCH, District Judge
OPINION AND ORDER
On March 25, 2005, this Court granted the motion of petitioners
Chemical Overseas Holdings, Inc., Credit Suisse First Boston, and
Dresdner Bank Lateinamerika AG to confirm an arbitration award
obtained against respondent, the Republica Oriental del Uruguay
("Uruguay"), and separately directed the entry of judgment in the
form submitted by petitioners. Chemical Overseas Holdings, Inc.
v. Republica Oriental Del Uruguay, No. 05 Civ. 260 (GEL), 2005
WL 736017 (S.D.N.Y. Mar. 25, 2005). On April 20, 2005, the Court
denied Uruguay's motion for additional time to brief its motion
for reconsideration, and stayed entry of judgment pending
resolution of that motion. Chemical Overseas Holdings, Inc. v.
Republica Oriental Del Uruguay, No. 05 Civ. 260 (GEL), 2005 WL
927153 (S.D.N.Y. Apr. 20, 2005). The motion has now been fully
briefed and is ripe for decision. The motion will be denied.
Uruguay has not argued, and does not argue now, that there was
any error in the arbitrators' decision. Respondent's sole
contention has been that confirmation of the arbitral award will
create a judgment that conflicts with a judgment of an Uruguayan
court, which provisionally attaches its debt to petitioners in favor of
unrelated third-party plaintiffs in an action before that Court.
The motion for reconsideration merely reiterates arguments made
and rejected in the Court's prior opinions.
In particular, Uruguay repeats its citation of Sea Dragon v.
Gebr. Van Weelde Scheepvaartkantoor B.V., 574 F. Supp. 367
(S.D.N.Y. 1983). The Court did not "overlook" Sea Dragon. The
case is distinguishable from the present case for at least two
reasons: First, in that case the issue of alleged inconsistency
with a foreign judgment had been submitted to the arbitral panel,
574 F. Supp. at 370, while in this case, "Uruguay does not
dispute petitioners' claim that it did not raise the Uruguayan
attachment order as a defense before the arbitration panel," and
thereby waived the issue. 2005 WL 736017 at *1. Second, in that
case the foreign court had specifically ordered the respondent
"`to keep the sequestered matters . . . in its possession,'"
574 F. Supp. at 369, making the arbitral award directly contrary to
the court's order. Here, as laboriously explained in the Court's
prior opinion, "there is no inconsistency between the Uruguayan
attachment and the judgment sought by petitioners," because
Uruguay has remedies available by which it can "satisfy its
obligations under the judgment without violating any other
decree." 2005 WL 736017 at *2.
Finally, Uruguay argues that the Court also "overlooked"
possible deleterious consequences to it from having a judgment
entered against it, which allegedly do not flow from the mere
existence of the arbitral award. As petitioners correctly point
out (see Letter of Louis B. Kimmelman, Esq., to the Court,
dated May 2, 2005, at 2), such consequences are not a basis for
refusing to enter judgment confirming an arbitration award whose
correctness is not in dispute. The Court is cognizant of the fact, which for some reason
Uruguay's counsel sees fit to print in boldface type, that
Uruguay "is a sovereign nation, and not an ordinary commercial
litigant." (Mot. for Reconsideration at 2; emphasis deleted.) But
Uruguay points to no sovereign immunity issue, or other factor
which makes its sovereign status relevant to the issues before
the Court. Uruguay chose to submit this dispute to a
distinguished panel of international arbitrators, which
unanimously (that is, including the party arbitrator appointed by
Uruguay itself) ruled against it. Uruguay has not raised any
objection to the correctness of the arbitrators' ruling, and has
cited no argument that depends upon its status as a sovereign
nation. (Indeed, its principal argument is based firmly on the
Sea Dragon decision, which involved "ordinary commercial
litigant[s].") Sovereign status does not entitle Uruguay to
sluggish processing of summary proceedings to enforce an
arbitration award, or to indefinite delays to present new
arguments on a motion for reconsideration.
The motion for reconsideration is denied. Accordingly, the stay
of entry of judgment granted in the Court's Order of April 20,
2005, having expired by its own terms, is vacated.
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