United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida, 18 June 2018, Grupo Unidos Por El Canal, S.A. and Sacyr, S.A. v. Autoridad del Canal de Panama, no. 17-23996-Civ-Scola

Claimants, Grupo Unidos Por El Canal, S.A. (“GUPC”) and Sacyr, S.A. initiated an action requesting that the Court annul a final arbitral award.

The underlying dispute arose in connection with a construction project in the Panama Canal. GUPC is the contractor, and Sacyr is one of GUPC’s shareholders. The dispute involved significant time delays and cost overruns of almost $200 million.

An ICC tribunal rendered an award in favour of ACP, ordering Claimants (and additional claimants not parties to the instant case) to reimburse ACP for significant legal, administrative, and other costs, for a total of over $22 million.

Claimants requested that the Court annul the award, arguing that the arbitral tribunal was unable to consider relevant and necessary evidence as a result of ACP’s repeated failure to produce pertinent documentation and witnesses.

The Court first finds that the Petitioners’ motion to vacate is time-barred. The three-month window for service under the Federal Arbitration Act has long passed, and the Petitioners provide no authority to support the notion that this Court may extend the statutory deadline for service. As a result, the Court denies the motion to vacate as moot.

The Court then grants in part the ACP’s motion to confirm the arbitral award under the New York Convention. However, the Court denies ACP’s request for prejudgment interest on the award. It states that such an interest was expressly refused by the arbitral award.

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