Process & Industrial Developments (P&ID) Ltd v The Federal Republic of Nigeria - United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit 21-7003 - Opinion - 11 March 2022
Opinion for the Court filed by Circuit Judge HENDERSON.
KAREN LECRAFT HENDERSON, Circuit Judge: Process and Industrial Developments Limited ("P&ID") petitioned for confirmation of an arbitral award against the Federal Republic of Nigeria and its Ministry of Petroleum Resources (collectively, "Nigeria") that today stands at roughly $10 billion. Nigeria moved to dismiss for lack of jurisdiction and asserted sovereign immunity under the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act ("FSIA"). 28 U.S.C. § 1602 et seq. The district court denied the motion on the ground that Nigeria impliedly waived sovereign immunity by joining The Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards ("New York Convention"), June 10, 1958, 21 U.S.T. 2517-an international treaty obligating member states to recognize and enforce arbitral awards issued in other member states-and agreeing to arbitrate its dispute with P&ID in a Convention state. See 28 U.S.C. § 1605(a)(1). We affirm but rely instead on the arbitration exception to the FSIA. See id. § 1605(a)(6).
We conclude that a foreign court's order ostensibly setting aside an arbitral award has no bearing on the district court's jurisdiction and is instead an affirmative defense properly suited for consideration at the merits stage.