Karaha Bodas Co. v. Perusahaan Pertambangan Minyak, No. 02-20042.

CourtU.S. Court of Appeals — Fifth Circuit
Writing for the CourtRosenthal
Citation364 F.3d 274
PartiesKARAHA BODAS CO., L.L.C., Plaintiff-Appellee, v. PERUSAHAAN PERTAMBANGAN MINYAK DAN GAS BUMI NEGARA; et al., Defendants, Perusahaan Pertambangan Minyak Dan Gas Bumi Negara, Defendant-Appellant.
Docket NumberNo. 02-20042.,No. 03-20602.
Decision Date23 March 2004
364 F.3d 274
KARAHA BODAS CO., L.L.C., Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.
PERUSAHAAN PERTAMBANGAN MINYAK DAN GAS BUMI NEGARA; et al., Defendants,
Perusahaan Pertambangan Minyak Dan Gas Bumi Negara, Defendant-Appellant.
No. 02-20042.
No. 03-20602.
United States Court of Appeals, Fifth Circuit.
March 23, 2004.

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William A. Isaacson (argued), Jonathan D. Schiller, Carl John Nichols, Philip Michael Spector, Alison E. Peck, Boies, Schiller & Flexner, Christopher F. Dugan, Paul, Hastings, Janofsky & Walker, Washington, DC, Kenneth Stuart Marks, Susman Godfrey, Emil T. Bayko, Jones Day, Houston, TX, for Plaintiff-Appellee.

Matthew D. Slater (argued), Cleary, Gottlieb, Steen & Hamilton, Washington, DC, F. Walter Conrad, Jr., Michael L. Brem, Baker Botts, Houston, TX, for Defendant-Appellant.

Carolyn B. Lamm, White & Case, Washington, DC, John E. O'Neill, Jesse R. Pierce, Clements, O'Neill, Pierce, Wilson & Fulkerson, Houston, TX, for Republic of Indonesia, Amicus Curiae.

Appeal from the United States District Court for the Southern District of Texas.

Before KING, Chief Judge, DAVIS, Circuit Judge, and ROSENTHAL,* District Judge.

ROSENTHAL, District Judge:


Thirty years ago, the United States Supreme Court recognized that "[a] contractual provision specifying in advance the forum in which disputes shall be litigated and the law to be applied is ... an almost indispensable precondition to achievement of the orderliness and predictability essential to any international business transaction.... Such a provision obviates the danger that a dispute under the agreement might be submitted to a forum hostile to the interests of one of the parties or unfamiliar with the problem area involved."1 When, as here, parties to international commercial contracts agree to arbitrate future disputes in a neutral forum, orderliness and predictability also depend on the procedures for reviewing and enforcing arbitral awards that may result. This appeal arises from an arbitral award (the "Award") made in Geneva, Switzerland, involving contracts negotiated and allegedly breached in Indonesia. The Award imposed liability and damages against Perusahaan Pertambangan Minyak Dan Gas Bumi Negara ("Pertamina"), which is owned by the government of Indonesia, in favor of Karaha Bodas Company, L.L.C. ("KBC"), a Cayman Islands company. KBC filed this suit in the federal district court in Texas to enforce the Award under the United Nations Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards (the "New York Convention"), and filed enforcement actions in Hong Kong and Canada as well.2 While those enforcement proceedings were pending, Pertamina appealed the Award in the Swiss courts, seeking annulment. When that effort failed, and after the Texas district court granted summary judgment enforcing the Award, Pertamina obtained an order from an Indonesian court annulling the Award.3

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Pertamina appealed to this court. During the appeal, Pertamina filed in the district court a motion to set aside the judgment under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 60(b)(2), based on newly-discovered evidence Pertamina contended should have been disclosed during the arbitration, and under Rule 60(b)(5), based on the Indonesian court's decision annulling the arbitration Award. This court remanded to the district court for consideration of Pertamina's Rule 60(b) motion.4 On remand, the district court denied Pertamina's Rule 60(b) motion. This appeal consolidates Pertamina's challenges to the grant of summary judgment and to the denial of the Rule 60(b) motion.

Pertamina urges this court to reverse the district court's decision enforcing the Award on several grounds under the New York Convention. We conclude that the record forecloses Pertamina's arguments that procedural violations and other errors occurred during the arbitration preclude enforcement. We reject Pertamina's argument that the Indonesian court's order annulling the Award bars its enforcement under the New York Convention; this argument is inconsistent with the arbitration agreements Pertamina signed and with its earlier position that Switzerland, the neutral forum the parties selected, had exclusive jurisdiction over an annulment proceeding. We reject Pertamina's efforts to delay or avoid enforcement of the Award as evidencing a disregard for the international commercial arbitration procedures it agreed to follow.5 In short, we affirm the district court's judgment enforcing the Award, for the reasons set out in detail below.

I. Background

A. Procedural and Factual History

KBC explores and develops geothermal energy sources and builds electric generating stations using geothermal sources. Pertamina is an oil, gas, and geothermal energy company owned by the Republic of Indonesia.6 In November 1994, KBC signed two contracts to produce electricity from geothermal sources in Indonesia. Under the Joint Operation Contract ("JOC"), KBC had the right to develop geothermal energy sources in the Karaha area of Indonesia; Pertamina was to manage the project and receive the electricity generated. Under the Energy Sales Contract ("ESC"), PLN agreed to purchase from Pertamina the energy generated by KBC's facilities. Both contracts contained almost identical broad arbitration clauses, requiring the parties to arbitrate any disputes in Geneva, Switzerland under the Arbitration Rules of the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law ("UNCITRAL").7

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On September 20, 1997, the government of Indonesia temporarily suspended the project because of the country's financial crisis. The government of Indonesia indefinitely suspended the project on January 10, 1998. On February 10, 1998, KBC notified Pertamina and PLN that the government's indefinite suspension constituted an event of "force majeure" under the contracts. KBC initiated arbitration proceedings on April 30, 1998. In its notice of arbitration, KBC appointed Professor Piero Bernardini, vice-chair of the International Chamber of Commerce's ("ICC") International Court of Arbitration and member of the London Court of International Arbitration, to serve as an arbitrator. Pertamina, however, did not designate an arbitrator in the contractually allotted thirty days. The JOC and ESC both provided that if a party failed to appoint an arbitrator within thirty days, the Secretary-General of the International Center for Settlement of Investment Disputes ("ICSID") was to make the appointment. After notifying Pertamina, PLN, and the government of Indonesia, the ICSID appointed Dr. Ahmed El-Kosheri, another vice-chair of the ICC, as the second arbitrator. As specified in the JOC and ESC, the two appointed arbitrators then selected the chairman of the arbitration panel, Yves Derains, the former Secretary-General of the ICC.

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Pertamina raised threshold challenges to the Tribunal's consolidation of the claims KBC raised under the JOC and the ESC into one arbitration proceeding and to the selection of the panel. In October 1999, the Tribunal issued a Preliminary Award, rejecting Pertamina's threshold challenges and ruling that the government of Indonesia was not a party to the contracts or to the arbitration proceeding.

KBC filed its Revised Statement of Claim in November 1999. Pertamina received a number of extensions before it filed its reply to the Revised Statement of Claim in April 2000. KBC filed a rebuttal to that reply in May 2000. In response to KBC's rebuttal, Pertamina sought additional discovery and a continuance of the proceedings, claiming that KBC had raised assertions and added elements to its case-in-chief not contained in the Revised Statement of Claim.

From the outset, the parties vigorously disputed whether KBC could have obtained financing to build the project if the government of Indonesia had not issued the suspension decree. Pertamina contended that KBC could not have built the project — and therefore suffered no damages from the government decree suspending the work — because the precarious situation in Indonesia effectively made the necessary financing unavailable. Pertamina asserted that KBC's rebuttal introduced a new theory as to how project financing could have been obtained. KBC changed from focusing on the availability of third-party financing and argued in the rebuttal that one of its direct investors, FPL Energy ("FPL"), would have provided project financing if no other source was available. Shortly before the scheduled hearing, Pertamina sought discovery of documents relating to FPL's asserted willingness to finance the project. In May 2000, the Tribunal denied Pertamina's request to obtain this discovery before the hearing and denied the request for a continuance. The Tribunal stated that it would decide at the conclusion of the hearing "whether any adjustment to the proceeding" would be required because of the discovery requested. The hearing on the merits proceeded as scheduled in June 2000.

The Tribunal received a large record. Both sides submitted extensive witness statements, expert reports, exhibits, and briefs. During the hearing, Pertamina and PLN cross-examined KBC's witnesses, including two witnesses who testified about KBC's ability to finance the project, Robert McGrath, Treasurer of FPL Group, Inc., and Leslie Gelber, former Vice-President of Development at FPL Energy. Both witnesses submitted declarations stating that "FPL Energy was prepared in 1998 to provide bridge financing or direct capital to continue the Project through the phases of the Project that were scheduled to be completed during Indonesia's period of instability." At the hearing, counsel for Pertamina specifically questioned McGrath about the availability of project financing from FPL. During...

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165 practice notes
  • Gueyffier v. Ann Summers, Ltd., No. B186996.
    • United States
    • California Court of Appeals
    • October 26, 2006
    ...state should enforce the arbitral award." (Karaha Bodas Co., L.L.C. v. Perusahaan Pertambangan Minyak Dan Gas Bumi Negara (5th Cir.2004) 364 F.3d 274, 287, citing Karaha Bodas Co., L.L.C. v. Perusahaan Pertambangan Minyak Dan Gas Bumi Negara (5th Cir.2003) 335 F.3d 357, 364.) The federal co......
  • Sharp Corp. v. Hisense USA Corp., Civil Action No. 17–1648 (JEB)
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. United States District Court (Columbia)
    • November 13, 2017
    ...award" and "may only refuse or stay enforcement of an award"); Karaha Bodas Co. v. Perusahaan Pertambangan Minyak Dan Gas Bumi Negara, 364 F.3d 274, 287 (5th Cir. 2004) (noting that in courts of secondary jurisdictions "parties can only contest whether that state should enforce the arbitral......
  • Championsworld, LLC v. U.S. Soccer Fed'n, Inc., Case No. 06 C 5724.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 7th Circuit. United States District Court (Northern District of Illinois)
    • August 17, 2012
    ...award should not be enforced because one party withheld material information (about the existence of an insurance policy). Karaha Bodas, 364 F.3d 274, 306–07 (5th Cir.2004). Although that party did not argue that it unable to present its case, the court's analysis is instructive. It began f......
  • BCB Holdings Ltd. v. Gov't of Belize, Civil Action No. 14–1123 (CKK)
    • United States
    • U.S. District Court — District of Columbia
    • February 6, 2017
    ...the arbitration." Belize Soc. Dev. Ltd., 668 F.3d at 731 (citing Karaha Bodas v. Perusahaan Pertambangan Minyak Dan Gas Bumi Negara, 364 F.3d 274, 289 (5th Cir.2004) ). Because the arbitration was conducted in England under English arbitral laws, England is the country with primary jurisdic......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
164 cases
  • Gueyffier v. Ann Summers, Ltd., No. B186996.
    • United States
    • California Court of Appeals
    • October 26, 2006
    ...state should enforce the arbitral award." (Karaha Bodas Co., L.L.C. v. Perusahaan Pertambangan Minyak Dan Gas Bumi Negara (5th Cir.2004) 364 F.3d 274, 287, citing Karaha Bodas Co., L.L.C. v. Perusahaan Pertambangan Minyak Dan Gas Bumi Negara (5th Cir.2003) 335 F.3d 357, 364.) The federal co......
  • Sharp Corp. v. Hisense USA Corp., Civil Action No. 17–1648 (JEB)
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. United States District Court (Columbia)
    • November 13, 2017
    ...award" and "may only refuse or stay enforcement of an award"); Karaha Bodas Co. v. Perusahaan Pertambangan Minyak Dan Gas Bumi Negara, 364 F.3d 274, 287 (5th Cir. 2004) (noting that in courts of secondary jurisdictions "parties can only contest whether that state should enforce the arbitral......
  • Championsworld, LLC v. U.S. Soccer Fed'n, Inc., Case No. 06 C 5724.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 7th Circuit. United States District Court (Northern District of Illinois)
    • August 17, 2012
    ...award should not be enforced because one party withheld material information (about the existence of an insurance policy). Karaha Bodas, 364 F.3d 274, 306–07 (5th Cir.2004). Although that party did not argue that it unable to present its case, the court's analysis is instructive. It began f......
  • BCB Holdings Ltd. v. Gov't of Belize, Civil Action No. 14–1123 (CKK)
    • United States
    • U.S. District Court — District of Columbia
    • February 6, 2017
    ...the arbitration." Belize Soc. Dev. Ltd., 668 F.3d at 731 (citing Karaha Bodas v. Perusahaan Pertambangan Minyak Dan Gas Bumi Negara, 364 F.3d 274, 289 (5th Cir.2004) ). Because the arbitration was conducted in England under English arbitral laws, England is the country with primary jurisdic......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
1 firm's commentaries
  • International Arbitration Comparative Guide
    • United States
    • Mondaq United States
    • November 10, 2022
    ...courts have given these reservations a narrow construction (see Karaha Bodas Co v Perusahaan Pertambangan Minyak Dan Gas Bumi Negara, 364 F3d 274 (5th Cir 2004)). 1.7 Is your jurisdiction a signatory to any other treaties relevant to The FAA adopts the Panama Convention in Chapter 3 (see 9 ......

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