Arbitration / Summonses
The panel reversed the district court's order denying Jones Day's petitions to compel Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe, LLP, to comply with an arbitrator's subpoena requiring two Orrick partners to appear at a hearing in an international arbitration conducted pursuant to Chapter Two of the Federal Arbitration Act.
First, the panel held that the district court had subject matter jurisdiction over the action to enforce arbitral summonses issued by the arbitrator in an ongoing international arbitration being conducted in Washington, D.C., under the United Nations Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards, known as the New York Convention. FAA Chapter Two's jurisdictional provision, 9 U.S.C. § 203, provides federal district courts with original jurisdiction over actions or proceedings falling under the New York Convention. Joining other circuits, the panel held that (1) if the underlying arbitration agreement or award falls under the New York Convention, and (2) the action or proceeding relates to that agreement or award, then the federal district court has jurisdiction over the action or proceeding.
The panel further held that venue was proper in the Northern District of California. Section 204 of the FAA provides that where the arbitration agreement designates a place of arbitration in the United States, an action or proceeding may be brought in the district embracing the place of arbitration. However, where, as here, that federal district court lacks personal jurisdiction over the party against whom enforcement is sought, the action may be brought in any district court deemed appropriate under the general venue statute, 28 U.S.C. § 1391, because § 204 supplements, rather than supplants, other venue rules.
The panel reversed and remanded with instructions to enforce Jones Day's petitions to compel Orrick and its partners to comply with the arbitral summonses.
This summary constitutes no part of the opinion of the court.