International Litigation

International Litigation

Williams & Connolly's well-known litigation practice extends beyond the borders of the United States. The firm represents U.S. and foreign corporations, foreign governments, high-ranking government officials, non-governmental organizations, and other individuals in criminal and civil litigation arising from activities in foreign jurisdictions and in cases ongoing or threatened in more than one country. We have extensive experience litigating issues of foreign sovereign immunity and enforcement of foreign country judgments. Firm attorneys also regularly coordinate with local counsel in foreign jurisdiction to advise on foreign trials that have potential U.S. repercussions. In addition, the firm frequently is retained to investigate suspected criminal or tortious conduct in the United States and abroad and to advise on the proper course of action. Our attorneys have extensive experience investigating and defending such matters relating to the fields of fraud and corruption, money laundering, financial services and securities regulation, import-export, environmental regulation, extradition, and taxation. These cases often involve multinational, multi-agency investigations and prosecutions and collateral civil litigation. The firm manages all aspects of such proceedings to ensure a vigorous defense and a unified, consistent approach.

International Arbitration

We have successfully represented clients in complex, high-stakes commercial arbitrations and in state court proceedings for recognition and enforcement of arbitral awards. Our lawyers appear before the leading international arbitral institutions and have handled disputes under the rules of the International Chamber of Commerce (“ICC”); the International Center for Conflict Prevention and Resolution (“CPR”); the American Arbitration Association (“AAA”) and its international division, the International Centre for Dispute Resolution (“ICDR”); and the Hong Kong International Arbitration Centre (“HKIAC”), as well as under the UNCITRAL Arbitral Rules and other rules in ad hoc arbitrations.

We have particular experience in a number of focused areas of concentration, including disputes arising out of international contracts for intellectual property, patent licensing, construction, energy, oil & gas, power plants, telecommunications, medical devices, securities, hotel management, and professional services.

These disputes have involved the laws of both common law and civil law systems, including the United States, England, France, Germany, Brazil, India, and Canada. We work closely with local lawyers and experts to ensure correct application of governing substantive and procedural laws.

We have represented individuals, companies, states, and state-entities.

We also assist our clients in reaching amicable resolution of disputes subject to arbitration through informed settlement discussions or organized mediation sessions.

Combining Renowned Litigation Skills with Arbitration Know-How

Our arbitration lawyers are, first and foremost, experienced litigators and trial lawyers. They bring to international arbitration the outstanding advocacy skills that always have distinguished Williams & Connolly and have forged its national and international reputation. Our lawyers know how to present complex and challenging factual and legal issues clearly and persuasively, both in writing and orally. Explaining complex, technical matters—whether in the field of engineering, technology, medicine, economics or other disciplines—and making those issues understandable to lay persons or non-specialists is a particular forte of the firm. Our lawyers also have deep experience in international arbitration, are regularly invited to lecture at international conferences, and teach advocacy in international arbitration at workshops and in academic fora.

Representative Experience

Representative International Litigation Matters

  • Representation of Carlyle Capital Corporation – The firm represented Carlyle Capital Corporation in a series of claims brought by investors and a bankruptcy trustee in jurisdictions around the world. The firm coordinated Carlyle’s defense in these actions, which involved claims of over $1 billion, and has prevailed in every action to date, including in a securities class action, which ended in a dismissal that was affirmed on appeal.
  • Representation of former President of Latin American country – The firm is currently defending the former President of a Latin American country in litigation in the United States.
  • Representation global company against Federal Republic of Nigeria – The firm represented a Fortune 20 global corporation against Nigeria in a dispute over facilities and investments the corporation had made in that country. The firm prepared for International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (“ICSID”) litigation, including preparation of a complaint, and successively settled the matter on the eve of filing.
  • Representation of a major international conglomerate – The firm represented a major international conglomerate in a multibillion-dollar mass tort case brought successively in four separate jurisdictions. The firm was counsel of record in all U.S. actions, each of which was dismissed. The firm successfully coordinated the client’s defense in the Central American jurisdiction in which the controversy ultimately was litigated, resulting in numerous favorable rulings from the Central American trial court.
  • Representation of a Fortune 100 company in global investigation – The firm represented a Fortune 100 company in a high-profile DOJ FCPA investigation relating to alleged payments by one of its foreign subsidiaries.  The firm’s work in this matter involved a review of the company’s compliance programs at subsidiaries on multiple continents.  Our attorneys interviewed witnesses and reviewed documents in, among other places, Indonesia, the United Kingdom, Singapore, China, Russia, Colombia and India.
  • Representation of the Republic of Paraguay – The firm is currently representing the Republic of Paraguay in enforcement proceedings brought in the Federal District Court for the District of Columbia. The Republic of Paraguay was successful in securing dismissal of claims by an Italian company seeking to enforce judgments of approximately $100 million awarded in Switzerland. The Court held that Paraguay’s foreign consul did not have actual or apparent authority to waive Paraguay’s sovereign immunity when he fraudulently executed written guarantees pledging that Paraguay would repay loans to companies he owned in the event of a default.
  • Representation of an international project development company – The firm represented an international project development company in a dispute over delays at three construction projects in Nigeria, including serving as lead counsel at an evidentiary hearing at the International Dispute Resolution Centre in London.
  • Representation of International Liquor Manufacturer – The firm successfully defended this large international company in the defense of a civil RICO action brought in the United States by a foreign government.
  • Representation of Italian Citizen – Successfully defeated request for extradition by Government of Italy and the U.S. Department of Justice Office of International Affairs in United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida (Miami).
  • Representation of Foreign Government Officials – Successfully kept clients from being indicted in United States for conspiracy to commit espionage and obstruction of justice.
  • Representation of Foreign Agricultural Client – Successfully kept client from being charged in United States Department of Justice antitrust investigation.
  • Representation of U.S. Company sued in Israel – Prepared all United States witnesses and assisted Israeli counsel at trial in successful defense of theft of trade secrets case.
  • International Child Abduction matter – Successfully obtained return of children to foreign client whose spouse had kidnapped the children and brought them to the United States.
  • Representation of Saudi Arabian banker – Obtained dismissal of litigation in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York brought by families of 9/11 victims on grounds of lack of personal jurisdiction.

Representative International Arbitration Matters

  • An ICC arbitration, on behalf of a major technology company, concerning the price that was required to pay to extend a license agreement covering products with billions of dollars in revenue.
  • An ICC arbitration involving the sale of one of Brazil’s largest electronics retailers to one of Brazil’s largest consumer products retailers. The arbitration was seated in Paris, and the dispute was governed by Brazilian law. The arbitration resulted in an award in our client’s favor on all claims and damages in excess of $100 million.
  • An ICC arbitration involving a significant investment by a Mauritius company to acquire a minority shareholding in an Indian cellular communications company. The arbitration was seated in London and governed by Indian law. The tribunal issued an award in our client’s favor, upholding the validity and enforceability of the shareholder and purchase agreement, and finding the opposing party liable for multiple breaches of the agreements.
  • An ICC arbitration concerning the sale of power plants in Thailand. The tribunal awarded the firm’s client (the respondent and counter-claimant) $4.2 million in damages as well as attorneys’ fees and costs and rejected the $50 million claim brought by the opposing parties.
  • An ICC arbitration between a leading French company and a Dutch company, involving a joint venture to own and operate an oil refinery in Germany. The arbitration was seated in Montreal, with hearings in London and Hamburg, and was governed by New York law, as well as presenting issues of German law. After an award was entered in our client’s favor, our lawyers were admitted as foreign counsel in Quebec and directly participated in successful proceedings in the national courts to defend the arbitral award.
  • An ICC arbitration between a Kuwaiti logistics company and a U.S. company involving a multi-billion-dollar contract with the U.S. Government to provide food and logistics services to military personnel in the Middle East. An award was rendered that rejected the opposing parties’ claims and granted the firm’s client a complete victory.
  • An arbitration under the HKIAC Rules, seated in Hong Kong, involving a U.S. company and a Chinese medical device manufacturer. The arbitration ended with a highly favorable settlement in favor of our client.
  • An ICC arbitration involving a U.S. law firm’s provision of legal services to a German client. The arbitration was seated in Zurich and governed by German law. The matter resulted in a highly favorable settlement for our client.
  • An ICC arbitration involving the construction of a 105 MW power plant in Afghanistan funded by the U.S. Government. The prime contractor brought claims against our client for over $40 million in damages, but the tribunal issued an award rejecting that claim outright, and instead awarding damages and costs to our client on its counterclaim.

Federal Judge Enters Judgment in Favor of Former Bolivian President and Minister of Defense

Federal Judge Enters Judgment in Favor of Former Bolivian President and Minister of Defense

On May 30, 2018, a federal judge granted a defense motion in favor of Williams & Connolly clients, former Bolivian President Gonzalo Sánchez de Lozada and Minister of Defense José Carlos Sánchez Berzaín. 

John Buckley and Ana Reyes Author U.S.A. Chapter in The International Comparative Legal Guide to: Enforcement of Foreign Judgments 2018

John Buckley and Ana Reyes Author U.S.A. Chapter in The International Comparative Legal Guide to: Enforcement of Foreign Judgments 2018

The guide provides the international practitioner and in-house counsel with a comprehensive worldwide legal analysis of the laws and regulations covering regimes in specific jurisdictions, enforcement regimes applicable to judgments from certain countries, methods of enforcement and other matters.

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