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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).

©2011-2020 Carlton Fields, P.A. National Law Review, Volume IX, Number 227


About this Author

 Benjamin E. Stearns, Regulatory attorney, Carlton Fields

Benjamin Stearns’s practice focuses on regulated industries, primarily medical marijuana and property and casualty insurance. Benjamin works with state regulators to resolve compliance matters and negotiate enforcement actions. He also lobbies the Florida Legislature, and has testified before legislative committees.

In addition, Benjamin litigates insurance coverage matters and contests of government contract awards. He represented the state of Florida in an original action against Georgia in the United States Supreme Court over the apportionment of the waters in the Chattahoochee-...