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Continental Transfert Technique Limited v. Federal Government of Nigeria

March 27, 2012


The opinion of the court was delivered by: Paul L. Friedman United States District Judge


Before the Court is a "Rule 60(a) Motion to Correct Clerical Mistake or Mistake Arising from Oversight or Omission," filed by plaintiff Continental Transfert Technique Limited ("Continental"). For the reasons stated below, the Court will grant the motion in part and hold the motion in abeyance in part.*fn1


Continental brought this action under the Federal Arbitration Act, 9 U.S.C. §§ 201 et seq., and the Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards, opened for signature June 10, 1958, 21 U.S.T. 2517, reprinted in 9 U.S.C. § 201 (historical and statutory notes) ("the New York Convention"), to enforce a 2008 arbitral award issued in the United Kingdom. Continental also sought to enforce, under the District of Columbia's Uniform Foreign-Money Judgments Recognition Act, D.C. CODE §§ 15-381 et seq. ("UFMJRA"), a 2009 judgment by the United Kingdom's High Court of Justice, which confirmed the arbitral award as final and enforceable. See Am. Compl. ¶¶ 1-2.

The Court granted Continental's motion for summary judgment against the defendants - the Federal Government of Nigeria, the Attorney General of Nigeria, and the Minister of the Interior of Nigeria (collectively, "Nigeria") - and entered an Order and Judgment confirming the arbitral award in its entirety and holding the U.K. judgment enforceable under the UFMJRA. See Continental Transfert Technique Ltd. v. Federal Government of Nigeria, 800 F. Supp. 2d 161 (D.D.C. 2011); Order and Judgment (Aug. 3, 2011) [Dkt. No. 46]. Continental subsequently filed the present motion asking the Court, pursuant to Rule 60(a) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, to "correct the judgment to reflect the amount of USD$423,184,115.29 plus applicable post-judgment interest." Mot. at 2. Embedded within Continental's motion are three distinct requests.

The arbitral award confirmed by this Court held Nigeria liable to Continental for three separate monetary sums in different currencies: Nigerian naira, British pounds, and U.S. dollars. Am. Compl. ¶¶ 24-27; MSJ Ex. 4 ("Arb. Award") at 50. Continental's first request is that the Court convert the British- and Nigerian-currency awards into U.S. dollars and combine all three figures to arrive at "a total U.S. dollar amount." Mot. at 2.

Continental's second request is for an award of prejudgment interest. The Court's Order and Judgment confirming the arbitral award made no mention of prejudgment interest. Converting the foreign currencies and combining all three sums, as requested by Continental, would result in a total sum of $250,522,787.84. See Hankin Decl. ¶¶ 5-6. As noted, Continental is asking for an award of $423,184,115.29. The difference of $172,661,327.45 represents prejudgment interest, to which Continental maintains it is entitled, spanning the period from the date of the arbitral award to the date of this Court's Judgment confirming the award. See id.

¶¶ 7-8; Opp. at 2 (stating that Continental's request "will raise the Final Award from a total of about $250,000,000 to a judgment of more than $423,000,000, a difference of about $180,000,000 USD.").

Finally, Continental also requests "applicable post-judgment interest" on the roughly $423 million specified above. See Mot. at 2.


A. Conversion of Awards in British and Nigerian Currencies to U.S. Dollars The arbitral award found Nigeria liable to Continental for three separate amounts:

(1) the primary award, in Nigerian naira in the amount of x29,660,166,207.48; (2) Continental's costs, in the amount of $247,500; and (3) any costs of the arbitration that Continental paid in excess of five percent of the total, which Continental and Nigeria agree amounts to £160,793.84.*fn2

Continental's complaint did not request that the foreign currencies be converted into U.S. dollars, nor that the three separate award amounts then be combined into a single total figure. See Compl.; Am. Compl.

At summary judgment, Continental's statement of undisputed material facts identified the exchange rates for British pounds and Nigerian naira that were in effect on the date of the arbitration award. Pl. Stmnt. Facts ¶ 16.*fn3 Nigeria admitted the accuracy of those rates. Def. Stmnt. Facts ΒΆ 16. In addition, the proposed order that Continental submitted with its summary judgment motion granted judgment to Continental in a single dollar amount corresponding to the combined value of the three separate awards after conversion into U.S. currency. See Proposed Order at 1. But nowhere in Continental's motion did the company explain why it was entitled to conversion of the foreign currencies into U.S. dollars, or why it was entitled to have that conversion calculated using the exchange rates that were in effect at the time of the ...

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