SDNY Recognizes Strong Deference Owed to Arbitrators, Confirms Arbitration Award

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International Engineering and Construction (IEC) commenced arbitration against Baker Hughes (formerly GE Oil and Gas) over construction delays in the building of a liquefied natural gas power plant in Nigeria. The three-arbitrator panel issued an award finding that both GE and IEC breached the construction contracts. While the panel awarded IEC more than $7 million plus interest from GE, it also ordered IEC to pay GE $11 million plus interest, as well as 95% of the arbitration costs and GE’s costs. The net result was that IEC was ordered to pay more than $8 million plus interest.

GE moved to confirm the arbitration award and IEC cross-moved to vacate the award on the grounds that the arbitrators manifestly disregarded the law and the plain language of the parties’ contracts. Although the district court noted that IEC’s arguments “might have traction” if the court were writing on a blank slate, based upon the strong deference owed to arbitrators, the court found that IEC’s vacatur arguments “fell short,” and confirmed the award in favor of GE.

Baker Hughes Energy Services, LLC v. International Engineering & Construction S.A., No. 1:21-cv-01961 (S.D.N.Y. Nov. 16, 2021)

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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