Inversiones Y Procesadora Tropical Inprotsa SA v Del Monte International GMBH - US Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit - Case No 16-17623 - Corrected Principal Brief of Appellant - 5 September 2017
STATEMENT OF ISSUES
1. Whether the district court lacked subject matter jurisdiction of a petition to vacate a foreign arbitral award under the Federal Arbitration Act, voiding all orders entered by it?
2. Whether the district court erred by summarily denying a petition to vacate because Appellant did not rely on defenses to a confirmation petition, but rather relied on standards expressed in Chapter 1 of the Federal Arbitration Act?
3. Whether the district court erred in confirming the arbitral award under Chapter 2 of the Federal Arbitration Act based on Appellant's purported non- compliance with service requirements applicable to a federal action when the action had been properly filed and served in a state court?
4. Whether the district court erred in confirming the arbitral award under Chapter 2 of the Federal Arbitration Act without considering the defenses thereto made by Appellant?
STATEMENT OF THE CASE - COURSE OF PROCEEDINGS
On March 10, 2014, Appellee Del Monte International GmbH ("Del Monte"), a Swiss corporation, initiated arbitral proceedings against Appellant Inversiones y Procesadora Tropical INPROTSA, S.A. ("INPROTSA"), a Costa Rican company, in the International Chamber of Commerce ("ICC") in Miami, Florida. ECF No. 1:90, 94 [I App. 1[C]]. The agreement between them, executed May 9, 2001, provided for the purchase by Del Monte and sale by INPROTSA of pineapples of the variety known as MD-2 (the "Agreement"). ECF No. 1:60-61, 77 [I App. 1[B]]. That Agreement required the parties to arbitrate pursuant to ICC rules and apply Florida law. Id. at 72-73, 77. Del Monte's claims centered on purported breaches of the Agreement by INPROTSA. ECF No. 1:100 at ¶ 27 [I App. 1[C]].
INPROTSA contested Del Monte's claims and asserted various counterclaims of its own. ECF No. 1:98-100 at ¶¶ 13-25 [I App. 1[C]]. The essential counterclaims were (1) that the agreement had been procured by Del Monte's fraudulent misrepresentations that it had exclusive ownership of the MD-2 variety and (2) that the damages sought by Del Monte were grossly unreasonable and absurd. ECF No. 1:98-99 at ¶¶ 15, 22 [I App. 1[C]]. A split arbitral tribunal served an award on June 14, 2016 in favor of Del Monte, but rejected a conversion claim by Del Monte. See ECF No. 1:129, 136 at ¶¶ 100, 122 [I App. 1[C]] (the "Arbitral Award"); ECF No. 6-6:2 [II App. 6-6].
INPROTSA filed a petition to vacate that foreign arbitral award in the Florida Circuit Court for the Eleventh Judicial Circuit. ECF No. 1:10-39 [I App. 1[A]]. Del Monte removed the case to the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida. ECF No. 1 [I App. 1]. The removal petition relied exclusively on Chapter 2 of the FAA for its jurisdictional source. Id. at 4-5. Del Monte then moved to dismiss the petition to vacate and cross-petitioned to confirm the Arbitral Award. ECF No. 6 [II App. 6]. INPROTSA moved to remand the case back to the Florida court, asserting that the district court lacked subject matter jurisdiction. ECF No. 13 [II App. 13]. This assertion was based on the lack of any independent federal jurisdictional source, such as diversity, and lack of federal jurisdiction under Chapter 2 of the FAA because Congress had given it no jurisdiction over vacatur petitions. Id. at 4-10.
In the First Order, the district court granted Del Monte's motion to dismiss and denied all other pending motions, including the remand motion and Del Monte's subsequently filed confirmation petition. ECF No. 24 [II App. 24]. INPROTSA appealed that dismissal order to this Court. ECF No. 25. Del Monte cross-appealed, ECF No. 32, after initially moving the district court to clarify the denial of the cross petition to confirm. ECF No. 26. The district court denied Del Monte's clarification motion because the First Order was pending on appeal. ECF No. 34:2.
Upon petition of Del Monte, this Court remanded this action to the district court. ECF No. 39. The district court then entered the Second Order, granting Del Monte's confirmation petition and entering a final judgment in favor of Del Monte.
ECF No. 47 [III App. 47]; ECF No. 52 [III App. 52]. INPROTSA timely appealed both the First and Second Orders, and Del Monte dismissed its initial cross appeal.
ECF No. 50 [III App. 50]; ECF No. 58.