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Cont'l Transfert Technique Ltd. v. Federal Gov't of Nig.

United States District Court, District of Columbia

March 26, 2013

CONTINENTAL TRANSFERT TECHNIQUE LIMITED, Plaintiff,
v.
FEDERAL GOVERNMENT OF NIGERIA et al., Defendants

Page 154

[Copyrighted Material Omitted]

Page 155

For CONTINENTAL TRANSFERT TECHNIQUE LIMITED, Plaintiff: Joel A. Hankin, LEAD ATTORNEY, PRO HAC VICE, Melissa E. Byroade, PRO HAC VICE, Paul F. Doyle, PRO HAC VICE, KELLEY, DRYE & WARREN, New York, NY; Shaun Michael Gehan, LEAD ATTORNEY, KELLEY, DRYE & WARREN, LLP, Washington, DC.

For FEDERAL GOVERNMENT OF NIGERIA, ATTORNEY GENERAL OF THE FEDRATION, MINISTER OF THE INTERIOR, Defendants: David Ludwig, Thomas Mansfield Dunlap, LEAD ATTORNEYS, DUNLAP WEAVER PLLC, Leesburg, VA; Kenechukwu C. Okoli, PRO HAC VICE, LAW OFFICES OF K.C. OKOLI, P.C., New York, NY.

OPINION

PAUL L. FRIEDMAN, United States District Judge.

Page 156

This matter is before the Court on a motion by plaintiff Continental Transfert Technique Limited to amend the Court's Order and Judgment of August 3, 2011. In an earlier Opinion, the Court granted the motion in part and held the remainder of the motion in abeyance pending supplemental briefing. See Continental Transfert Technique Ltd. v. Federal Government of Nigeria, 850 F.Supp.2d 277 (D.D.C. 2012). The Court now grants the remainder of Continental's motion in part and denies it in part. An Amended Judgment accompanies this Opinion. [1]

Background on this case and the pending motion can be found in the Court's earlier opinions and will not be repeated here except as follows. [2] Continental initiated this action under the Federal Arbitration Act, 9 U.S.C. § § 201 et seq. (" FAA" ) -- which codifies the Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards (" the New York Convention" ) -- to confirm a 2008 arbitral award that it obtained in the United Kingdom against the defendants (collectively, " Nigeria" ). 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 that confirmed the arbitral award as final and enforceable. See Am. Compl. ¶ ¶ 1-2.

Page 157

In an Order and Judgment dated August 3, 2011, the Court granted Continental's motion for summary judgment. The Order and Judgment stated simply that the arbitral award was confirmed in its entirety and that the judgment issued by the High Court of Justice was enforceable under the UFMJRA. See Order and Judgment (Aug. 3, 2011). Continental promptly moved to amend the Order and Judgment under Rule 60(a) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure in order to, in its words, " correct the judgment to reflect the amount of $423,184,115.29 plus applicable post-judgment interest." Mot. at 2. This motion, the Court explained, comprised " three distinct requests." Continental Transfert Technique Limited v. Federal Government of Nigeria, 850 F.Supp.2d at 281. First, Continental was requesting that the portions of its arbitral award granting certain sums in foreign currencies be converted into U.S. dollars, at the exchange rates that were in place on the date of the award. Second, Continental was seeking post-award, prejudgment interest on the arbitral award, at an interest rate of eighteen percent. Third, Continental was requesting postjudgment interest on the entire amount. See id. at 281-82.

The Court concluded that Continental was entitled under Rule 60(a) to correction of the Order and Judgment in order to include an award of postjudgment interest as mandated by statute, but that its first two requests could not be granted under that Rule. Continental Transfert Technique Limited v. Federal Government of Nigeria, 850 F.Supp.2d at 282-88. Although those requests did not fall within the purview of Rule 60(a), the Court determined that because Continental filed its motion within the time limit required for a motion to alter or amend the judgment under Rule 59(e), the Court might be able to treat the motion as one brought under that Rule. The parties, however, had not briefed the question of whether the stringent standards of Rule 59(e) were met, nor had they adequately briefed the underlying questions of whether Continental was entitled in the first place to prejudgment interest or conversion of its award into U.S. currency. The Court therefore held those two requests in abeyance, id. at 284, 286, and directed the parties to file supplemental memoranda addressing the following questions:

(1) whether Continental was entitled at the time of judgment to conversion of its foreign-currency awards into U.S. dollars at the specified exchange rates;
(2) whether Continental's request for such conversion after judgment satisfies the requirements of Rule 59(e) for altering or amending a judgment;
(3) whether Continental was entitled at the time of judgment to prejudgment interest at a rate of eighteen percent; and
(4) whether Continental's request for such interest after judgment satisfies the requirements of Rule 59(e) for altering or amending a judgment.

Order (Mar. 27, 2012). The parties have filed their supplemental memoranda. In view of their arguments, the applicable law, and the entire record in this case, the Court concludes that Continental was entitled at the time of judgment to part of the relief it has requested, and that it has met the standards for obtaining that relief under Rule 59(e).

I. CONVERSION OF ARBITRAL AWARD INTO UNITED STATES DOLLARS

A. Continental's Entitlement to Conversion of its Foreign ...


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