Judgment and Arbitral Award Enforcement

LEADERS

Overview

Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher is the leader in global judgment and arbitral award enforcement.  We provide innovative enforcement strategies and creative solutions for both creditors and debtors.

Our Judgment and Arbitral Award Enforcement Practice Group offers top-tier international arbitral award and judgment enforcement strategies and solutions, deep proficiency in cross-border litigation and international arbitration, and best-in-class advocacy that not only applies the law, but, time and again, has crafted and shaped new law to achieve our clients’ objectives.

Gibson Dunn has substantial experience designing creative and highly effective worldwide enforcement strategies.  Our winning strategies involve analysis of the judgment debtor’s business, assets and financial conditions, through both publicly available information and information developed by trusted investigators around the globe.  We then use our experience to develop the most effective course of enforcement – including both prejudgment and post-judgment actions in multiple jurisdictions around the world.  Gibson Dunn also excels at defending companies and individuals against fraudulent arbitration awards and foreign judgments, exposing massive frauds and corporate shakedown attempts in the process.

We offer integrated litigation strategies that run from start to finish:  Our work towards enforcing an arbitral award or judgment begins at the inception of the dispute process, not just once an award or judgment has been issued.

Before a judgment or an arbitral award is even issued, we routinely work with counsel – whether within Gibson Dunn’s international arbitration group, Gibson Dunn’s transnational litigation practice or outside the firm – to plot an enforcement strategy that will realize our client’s anticipated award.  Through the use of all the available tools, including, among others, prejudgment attachments, fraudulent transfer actions, and 28 U.S.C. § 1782 discovery petitions, we have been able to put our clients ahead of other creditors, resulting in the actual collection of billions of dollars in judgment and arbitral awards that many deemed unrecoverable.

We believe in bespoke enforcement strategies.  Ours have no template because every enforcement action is different: different debtors, with different assets in different jurisdictions.

Our lawyers have been recognized for obtaining results where others have failed or where the issues are of first impression.  The American Lawyer’s Am Law Litigation Daily named our group’s co-chair Robert Weigel as a Litigator of the Week for obtaining, on behalf of Crystallex, one of the largest enforcement victories to date against a sovereign debtor, helping Crystallex become the first (and, to date, only) judgment creditor of Venezuela (or PDVSA, its national oil company) to obtain judicial authorization to attach key United States-based assets.  Indeed, Gibson Dunn’s work defending that unprecedented victory was recognized by The American Lawyer when it named Gibson Dunn its 2020 Litigation Department of the Year, our firm’s fourth win in the last six of the publication’s biennial “Litigation Department of the Year” competitions.

Matt McGill, the group’s other co-chair, represented NML Capital in its 10-year litigation against the Republic of Argentina in what the Financial Times called “the trial of the century in sovereign debt restructuring.”  Mr. McGill won an important victory before the U.S. Supreme Court that confirmed the availability of discovery in aid of enforcement of money judgments against foreign sovereigns, helping set the stage for NML’s multibillion-dollar settlement of its claims.

Gibson Dunn has also been lauded for its representation of Chevron Corporation in its successful RICO suit against the purveyors of what The Wall Street Journal called the legal “fraud of the century” and its exposure of a $9.2 billion Ecuadorian judgment against Chevron as the product of fraud and bribery.  Most recently, Gibson Dunn lawyers were again named by the Am Law Litigation Daily as Litigators of the Week for defeating efforts to recognize a sham $18 billion arbitral award against Chevron Corporation and Chevron U.S.A. Inc.

The strength of our group is not limited to its co-chairs.  Gibson Dunn has premier enforcement-focused practitioners across the world.  Our team includes lawyers through the United States, as well as in London, Paris, Dubai, Singapore and Hong Kong.  Members of the group have been at the forefront of major cases that have shaped judgment and arbitral award enforcement law in the United States and around the world.

EXPERIENCE & RECENT REPRESENTATIONS

  • Won an order, on behalf of Crystallex International Corporation, attaching the shares of PDV Holding, Inc. (PDVH), nominally held by PDVSA, Venezuela’s national oil company, which Crystallex successfully argued is the alter ego of Venezuela. The attachment was in aid of a $1.4 billion award that Crystallex won against Venezuela.  PDVH owns multibillion-dollar U.S. refiner CITGO Petroleum.
  • Represented NML Capital in its effort to collect on judgments on defaulted sovereign bonds, which, after years of litigation at all levels of the U.S. court system, resulted in a multibillion-dollar settlement in favor of our client.
  • Represented Pearl Petroleum, Crescent Petroleum and Dana Gas in enforcing $2 billion in arbitral awards against Kurdistan. After initiating enforcement proceedings in multiple jurisdictions, including in the United States, the United Kingdom and the Dubai International Financial Centre, the clients succeeded in recovering a substantial cash settlement, along with additional contract concessions.
  • Represented victims of the 1983 Beirut Marine Corps barracks bombing who hold judgments against the government of Iran, and obtained a U.S. Supreme Court ruling in favor of the Beirut Marines. The Supreme Court rejected arguments from Iran’s central bank that Congress had impermissibly invaded the province of the Judicial Branch by authorizing victims of terrorism to seize certain assets.  The ruling allowed nearly $2 billion to be distributed to Iran’s victims.
  • Represented Yukos Capital S.a.r.l. in a complex, decade-long battle arising out of the Russian government’s expropriation of the multibillion-dollar Yukos Oil Company. Using coordinated parallel enforcement proceedings in the United States, the Netherlands, Ireland, Singapore and the United Kingdom, Gibson Dunn obtained a prejudgment attachment resulting in a $420 million payment in one action, and secured a $186 million judgment confirming an arbitral award in another — which Gibson Dunn leveraged into a successful global settlement of our client’s claims.
  • Successfully enforced a $245 million LCIA arbitration award in relation to a dispute over an ownership stake in a luxury hotel in Moscow.
  • Obtained a $50 million prejudgment attachment for Hotel 71 over the defendant’s interest in multiple out-of-state LLCs and successfully defended the attachment in a landmark decision in New York State’s Court of Appeals.
  • Represented Chevron Corporation in its successful RICO suit against Steven Donziger and certain plaintiffs, resulting in the judicial finding that a $9.5 billion Ecuadorian judgment against Chevron was procured through fraud and bribery, in what The Wall Street Journal called the legal “fraud of the century.”
  • Represented Chevron Corporation and Chevron U.S.A. Inc. in their successful defeat of a petition before the federal court in the Northern District of California to enforce a sham $18 billion award procured before a suspect arbitral institution in Egypt.
  • Representing Tethyan Copper Company in global enforcement proceedings seeking to recognize and enforce a $5.9 billion ICSID award against Pakistan — one of the largest ICSID awards ever rendered.
  • Representing claimants Eiser Infrastructure Limited and Energía Solar Luxembourg S.à r.l. in cases to enforce ICSID awards totaling more than $200 million against Spain.
  • Representing members of the Turchome group in enforcement proceedings seeking to recognize a $388 million ICC arbitral award against the award judgment debtor and transferees of assets from the judgment debtor.

RECENT PUBLICATIONS