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In re Arbitration of Certain Controversies Between Science Applications International Corp.

United States District Court, District of Columbia

January 5, 2017

In The Matter of the Arbitration of Certain Controversies Between SCIENCE APPLICATIONS INTERNATIONAL CORP., Petitioner, and THE HELLENIC REPUBLIC, Respondent.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

          Gladys Kesdler United States District Judge.

         On July 12, 2013, Petitioner Science Applications International Corporation ("Petitioner" or "SAIC"), now "Leidos, Inc., " filed a Petition to Confirm Arbitration Award ("Petition") [Dkt. No. 1] against Respondent, The Hellenic Republic ("Respondent" or "Hellenic Republic"). The Petitioner now asks this Court to confirm an arbitration award granted by the International Chamber of Commerce International Court of Arbitration ("ICC") and to enter judgment against the Hellenic Republic..

         I. BACKGROUND

         On September 5, 2013, while the Petition with this Court was pending, the Hellenic Republic filed an action to set aside the ICC award in the Athens Court of Appeals. See Pet.'s Motion to Confirm Arbitration Award and to Enter Judgment at 2-3 [Dkt. No. 20]. On March 27, 2014, the Parties filed a Joint Motion for a Stay pending a decision by the Athens Court of Appeals [Dkt. No. 16], which was granted on March 28, 2014 [Dkt. No. 17]. On June 18, 2014, the Athens Court of Appeals issued a decision annulling the ICC award. See Consent Motion for Briefing Schedule [Dkt. No. 18]. On September 8, 2014, Petitioner filed a Motion to Confirm the Arbitration Award and Enter Judgment [Dkt. No. 20] . On November 17, 2014, Respondent filed a Cross-Motion to Dismiss or to Deny Petition to Confirm Award [Dkt. No. 25].

         On January 9, 2015, Petitioner filed an appeal of the Athens Court of Appeals annulment decision with the Supreme Court of the Hellenic Republic ("the Greek Supreme Court"). As of November 6, 2015, the Parties had not received any decision by the Greek Supreme Court. Thereafter, the Parties filed Joint Status Reports on the proceedings before the Greek Supreme Court, until it issued a decision.

         On November 2, 2016, the Parties filed a Joint Status Report notifying this Court of the September 22, 2016, decision of the Greek Supreme Court [Dkt. No. 48]. It ruled in favor of Petitioner LEIDOS, Inc. (formerly, Science Applications International Corporation) reversing the Athens Court of Appeals decision annulling the arbitration award, and thereby reinstating the original ICC award to Petitioner. In addition, the Greek Supreme Court remanded the case back to the Athens Court of Appeals for a new hearing to address only one rather minor issue discussed in the Supreme Court's decision. That hearing is now scheduled for November 16, 2017.

         In response to the November 2, 2016 Joint Status Report, the Court Ordered the Parties to submit their positions as to what, if anything, this Court should do, given the fact that the Greek Supreme Court had ruled [Dkt. No. 49]. On December 16, 2016, Petitioner submitted a Position Brief as to Impact on Its Arbitration Award Enforcement Petition of Supreme Court of the Hellenic Republic's Decision ("Pet.'s Position Br.")[Dkt. No. 51]. Respondent submitted its Position Statement that this Court should deny the Petitioner's request for enforcement of the decision of the Greek Supreme Court. [Dkt. No. 52].

         II. STANDARD OF REVIEW

         Under the New York Convention, which has been implemented by the Federal Arbitration Act, 9 U.S.C. § 2 01 et. seq., a court "may, if it considers it proper, adjourn the decision on the enforcement of the award. . ., " New York Convention Article VI (emphasis added), and stay proceedings where "a parallel proceeding is ongoing in the originating country and there is a possibility that the award will be set aside." Europcar Italia v. Maiellano Tours, Inc., 156 F.3d 310, 316-18 (2d Cir. 1998). But, of course, the court is not required to do so. See id.

         In determining whether to enforce an Arbitration Award against a foreign state, this Court must balance the factors which weigh in favor of or against enforcement. Chevron Corp. and Texas Petroleum Company v. Republic of Ecuador, 949 F.Supp.2d 57, 71-73 (D.D.C. 2013) (applying Europcar, 156 F.3d at 316-18).

         In Europcar, the Second Circuit cautioned courts that " [a]stay of confirmation should not be lightly granted lest it encourage abusive tactics by the party that lost in arbitration." Europcar, 156 F.3d at 316-18. In order to aid judges as they exercise their discretion, the Second Circuit enumerated a number of factors that should be considered. They are:

"(1) the general objectives of arbitration-the expeditious resolution of disputes and the avoidance of protracted and expensive litigation;
(2) the status of foreign proceedings and the estimated time for those proceedings to be resolved;
(3) whether the award sought to be enforced will receive greater scrutiny in the foreign proceedings under a less ...

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