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D.C. Circuit Court Affirms $1.2 Billion Arbitration Award to Gold-Mining Company

Crystallex International Corporation (“Crystallex”) is a Canadian gold-mining company. Crystallex acquired the rights to explore gold deposits in Venezuela through a contract. To explore the mines, Crystallex completed all the permit requirements and posted a bond. The Venezuelan Ministry of Environment denied the permits based on environmental concerns.

Crystallex initiated international arbitration proceedings, alleging that the denial of the permits violated a bilateral treaty between Canada and Venezuela. The arbitration tribunal awarded Crystallex a little more than $1.2 billion in damages. Crystallex petitioned in federal district court for confirmation of the award, and Venezuela opposed and moved to vacate the award under the FAA.

The district court affirmed the award and denied the motion to vacate. Venezuela appealed. On appeal, the court affirmed the district court’s judgment. The court explained that: (1) the district court considered all of Venezuela’s FAA arguments and applied the correct standard of review drawn from FAA case law; (2) the district court did not err in applying a deferential standard to its review of the arbitral award’s method of calculating damages; and (3) the district court did not confirm the arbitral award based on misunderstandings of the arbitration tribunal’s reasoning.

Crystallex Int’l Corp. v. Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, No. 17-7068, 2019 WL 668270 (D.C. Cir. Feb. 14, 2019)

©2011-2020 Carlton Fields, P.A. National Law Review, Volume IX, Number 74


About this Author

Rachel Schwartz Insurance Attorney

Rachel J. Schwartz represents property and casualty insurance industry clients in litigation and counsels them on varied coverage matters, including coverage disputes arising under Commercial General Liability and Directors & Officer policies.

Rachel drafts pleadings, discovery requests and responses, and motions regarding declaratory judgment actions. She reviews insurance policies and conducts legal research on various insurance coverage topics, including late notice, policy exclusions, duty to defend, allocation, and NY Ins. L. 3420(d). She prepares tenders, carrier position...