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Zach concentrates his practice in construction-related disputes and specializes in complex domestic and international arbitration proceedings. He has advised clients on nearly every continent in connection with projects in the United States, Africa, the Middle East, and Latin America. Zach has represented owners, EPC contractors, and equipment manufacturers in disputes arising from a wide variety of construction projects including power plants, airports, commercial buildings, and other civil infrastructure works.

This article was published in Law360 on December 4, 2019. © Copyright 2019, Portfolio Media, Inc., publisher of Law360. It is republished here with permission.

On Nov. 21, the Queen Mary University of London School of International Arbitration, in partnership with the U.K.-based law firm Pinsent Masons LLP, released its ninth annual international arbitration survey focused on international construction disputes.

As a nod to the significance the construction industry plays in the field of international arbitration, the 2019 Queen Mary University survey marks the largest industry-specific survey its School of International Arbitration has ever conducted and offers insights that will undoubtedly be used for years to come.
While the survey data and accompanying report provide a granular level of analysis concerning a wide variety of topics, below are some of the key takeaways of interest to U.S. practitioners.

Continue Reading New International Arbitration Study Offers Construction Dispute Insight

Abdul Latif Jameel Trans. Co. v. FedEx Corp., No. 19-5315 (6th Cir. Sept. 19, 2019).

In the world of international arbitration, where document disclosure is already relatively limited compared to practices in federal and state court, 28 U.S.C. § 1782 — titled “Assistance to foreign and international tribunals and to litigants before such tribunals” — has been a commonly overlooked tool for obtaining useful evidence in support of an international arbitration. In broad strokes, the statute permits a federal district court to require a person within the district to provide documents or testimony for use in a proceeding in a “foreign or international tribunal.”

Continue Reading Expanding Disclosure in International Arbitration: Sixth Circuit Rules That 28 U.S.C. § 1782 Permits Parties to Pursue Discovery in Support of Private Commercial International Arbitrations

Over the past decade, international arbitration has played an increasingly prominent role in the construction industry.  As contractors and owners pursue greater opportunities outside their domestic jurisdictions, international arbitration has provided parties with a reliable, flexible, and neutral forum to resolve disputes.  Indeed, a quick glance at the most recent statistics from any number of the leading international arbitral institutions, such as the International Chamber of Commerce and International Centre for Dispute Resolution, shows that construction arbitration accounts for one of the largest components of the institutions’ caseload.

Continue Reading International Arbitration and the Construction Industry: An Introduction to the Field of International Arbitration on October 11, 2019

BML Properties Ltd. v. China Construction America Inc., et al., 101 N.Y.S. 3d 597 (N.Y. App. Div. 2019)

On July 2, 2019, a New York appellate court upheld a lower court ruling by Justice Saliann Scarpulla, denying a state-backed Chinese contractor’s attempt to compel international arbitration arising out of a dispute involving the construction of the multibillion Baha Mar mega-resort in the Bahamas.  As a result of the ruling in BML Properties Ltd. v. China Construction America Inc., et al., 101 N.Y.S. 3d 597 (N.Y. App. Div. 2019), aff’ing No. 657550/2017 (N.Y. Sup. Ct. Jan. 24, 2019), the $2.25 billion lawsuit alleging “one of the largest construction-based frauds in this hemisphere” will remain in the New York courts.  As explained below, for those in the international construction industry, the case will be worth following.

Continue Reading New York Appellate Court Affirms Decision to Deny Motion to Compel Arbitration in Multi-Billion Dollar Construction Dispute

As many owners and contractors involved in the international construction industry are aware, international arbitration is a popular dispute resolution device for international construction disputes because, in part, international arbitration awards are, broadly speaking, enforceable in practically every jurisdiction in the world. This facet of international arbitration has been set out in the U.N. Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards (the New York Convention) — a multilateral convention that requires the courts of the contracting states to recognize and enforce arbitration awards made by tribunals seated in other contracting states. Now, with 160 signatory states and the increasing popularity of international arbitration around the world, the New York Convention is widely viewed as one of the most successful international conventions ever.

Continue Reading New Conventions, New Problems?: A Pair of Recently Announced International Conventions Aim to Replicate the Success of the New York Convention

Popple Construction, Inc. v. Reilly Associates, Inc. No. 775-MDA-2017, 2019 BL 213236 (Pa. Sup. Ct., June 10, 2019).

On June 10, 2019, the Superior Court of Pennsylvania affirmed a lower court decision to deny a motion to dismiss in connection with a tort claim for negligent misrepresentation by a contractor against a third-party design/engineer.  The Court’s opinion highlights Pennsylvania’s exception to the economic loss doctrine insofar as it applies to claims raised by contractors against architects/engineers for faulty bidding documents, specifications, or designs.

Continue Reading Pennsylvania’s Exception to the Economic Loss Doctrine Appears Alive and Well: Appellate Court Permits Contractor to Pursue Negligent Misrepresentation Claim Against Design Professional

Published in The Construction Lawyer, Volume 39, Number 1 Winter 2019. © 2019 American Bar Association. Reproduced with permission. All rights reserved. This information or any portion thereof may not be copied or disseminated in any form or by any means or stored in an electronic database or retrieval system without the express written consent

Pepper Hamilton attorneys Albert Bates and R. Zachary Torres-Fowler contributed the United States Construction Arbitration chapter to the Global Arbitration Review (GAR) Know-How series. Launched in 2006, GAR is a leading resource on international arbitration news and community intelligence.

The GAR Know-How series — an online Q&A resource that provides practitioners with guides on various

As discussed in our post from last year, on August 30, 2018, the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals reversed a lower court decision to compel arbitration between an Alabama steel plant owner, Outokumpu Stainless USA, LLC (“OS”), and a French division of General Electric Co, GE Energy Power Conversion France SAS (formerly Converteam SAS). In so ruling, the Eleventh Circuit held that a non-signatory to a contract could not compel arbitration under the United Nations Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards (the “New York Convention”), as incorporated in Chapter 2 of the Federal Arbitration Act (“FAA”), through the doctrine of equitable estoppel. Dissatisfied with the Eleventh Circuit’s decision, on February 7, 2019, GE filed a petition for a writ of certiorari with the Supreme Court of the United States to review the Eleventh Circuit’s decision and on June 28, 2019, the Court granted the GE’s petition.  In the field of international construction arbitration, where multi-party disputes between owners, contractors, and subcontractors are common and where the rights of non-signatories to compel arbitration are regularly debated, the Supreme Court is slated to provide important guidance.
Continue Reading UPDATE: GE Energy Power Conversion France SAS v. Outokumpu Stainless USA, LLC: U.S. Supreme Court Grants Writ of Certiorari to Decide the Question of Whether the New York Convention Permits Non-Signatories to Compel Arbitration Under the Doctrine of Equitable Estoppel

On June 12, 2019, the World Bank announced that China-based Dongfang Electronics Co. Ltd. (“Dongfang”) would be debarred for fifteen (15) months for fraudulently bidding on a $60 million electrical expansion project in Liberia.  The debarment renders Dongfang, a state-owned enterprise specializing in manufacturing and installing electrical equipment in connection with energy and infrastructure projects, ineligible to participate in any projects financed by the World Bank.  Dongfang’s debarment by the World Bank highlights the compliance risks contractors and subcontractors face when pursuing contracts associated with foreign projects financed by institutions such as the World Bank.
Continue Reading World Bank Debars Chinese Engineering Company for Fraudulent Bidding Practices in Connection With Liberian Infrastructure Project