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Ware Jackson helps secure big victory in long-fought $2 billion international commercial arbitration

Ware Jackson partner Eileen O’Neill and associate Michelle Meriam aided a Houston-based Fortune 500 company in obtaining a successful result in an international commercial arbitration seated in Paris, France.

The case arose from 2006 contracts under which the client’s Norwegian subsidiary supplied custom oil and gas equipment to a Saudi Arabian joint venture for six land-based oil wells built for Saudi Aramco. The joint venture, along with its parent company and one of its principals, accused the firm’s client of engaging in an elaborate conspiracy with other suppliers to destroy the joint venture’s business by delivering equipment late. They sought to recover liquidated damages and lost profits totaling more than $2.3 billion, plus twice the amount of commissions paid in connection with the sales.

The case was filed in Texas state court and removed to the Southern District of Texas. The federal district court denied the client’s motion to compel arbitration, but Ware Jackson successfully appealed that ruling to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals. In the arbitration subsequently commenced with the ICC, Ware Jackson led the preparation of the client’s written submissions. The ICC arbitral tribunal issued its favorable 270-page final award following a 3-week oral hearing. The award held that the Saudi Arabian joint venture’s contract claims were barred by the Norwegian statute of limitations and determined that Ware Jackson’s client played no role in ARPD incurring liquidated damages or going out of business.

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