Fifth Circuit Determines That Louisiana Nonresident Attachment Statute Allows for Attachment in Aid of Arbitration
On second rehearing and after submitting a question to the Louisiana Supreme Court, the Fifth Circuit determined that the Louisiana nonresident attachment statute allows for attachment in aid of arbitration. The underlying case involved competing claims from creditors for the pig iron on board a ship anchored in New Orleans. The Louisiana Supreme Court answered the certified question by stating that the statute “allows for attachment in aid of arbitration if the origin of the underlying arbitration claim is one pursuing money damages and the arbitral party has satisfied the statutory requirements necessary to obtain a writ of attachment.”
Louisiana’s attachment statute permits a writ of attachment to be obtained “in any action for a money judgment, whether against a resident or a nonresident, regardless of the nature, character, or origin of the claim, whether it is for a certain or uncertain amount, and whether it is liquidated or unliquidated.” The Fifth Circuit found the underlying action seeking to compel arbitration to be an “action for a money judgment” as the plaintiff had “made it clear from the outset” that it was pursuing a money judgment. “The ‘nature, character, or origin of the claim’ just happens to be arbitration.” Since the plaintiff had brought an action for a money judgment (in this case, an arbitration), the statute permitted the issuance of a writ of attachment, and therefore the requirements of the nonresident attachment statute had also been met, per the Louisiana Supreme Court’s guidance.
Stemcor USA Inc. v. Cia Siderurgica do Para Cosipar, No. 16-30984 (5th Cir. June 25, 2019).