Appeals from the United States District Court for the Northern District of Oklahoma (D.C. No. 4:20-CV-00626-TCK-SH)
Many parties entering complex commercial transactions choose to negotiate where and how they might resolve any potential disputes. For those entering contracts that span multiple countries--each with their own substantive laws--the certainty of knowing where and how disputes will be resolved is almost indispensable.1 To this end, international arbitration is often an attractive choice, as many businesses prefer to avoid the uncertainty, expense, and potential hostility of a foreign nation's local courts. But when our courts refuse to uphold a foreign arbitrator's award, those advantages are destroyed. As a result, the list of defenses available to a party trying to avoid the enforcement of a foreign award is deliberately short.
This case turns on whether Defendant Joshi Technologies can establish any of those defenses to defeat Plaintiff's attempt to confirm such an award. Plaintiff, after winning an Ecuadorian arbitration against the Ecuador-based Pesago Consortium, secured an arbitral award enforceable jointly and severally against the Consortium's two members--Defendant and third-party Campo Puma Oriente S.A. Plaintiff then brought its award to Oklahoma and sued Defendant to confirm the award in the United States. Plaintiff again prevailed, and the district court entered judgment against Defendant for the award's amount, prejudgment interest, and attorney's fees.
Now before us, Defendant raises three grounds for reversal. First, Defendant contends that the district court lacked subject matter jurisdiction to confirm the award. Second, Defendant argues that the district court should not have confirmed the award because the parties never agreed to arbitrate their dispute. Third, Defendant argues that the district court improperly awarded attorney's fees and incorrectly calculated prejudgment interest. Exercising jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. § 1291, we affirm everything except the district court's award of prejudgment interest, which we vacate and remand for the district court to reconsider.