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Arnold & Porter's Win For Panama Marks 37th Consecutive Favorable Result From International Arbitration Team

August 24, 2020

Arnold & Porter's International Arbitration team successfully defended the Republic of Panama against a $20 million plus arbitration claim filed by US subsidiaries of Bridgestone Corporation under the US-Panama Trade Promotion Agreement. This marks the firm's 37th consecutive positive result on behalf of sovereign States in investment arbitrations.

In its August 14, 2020 award, a tribunal at the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) dismissed the claim on the merits in its entirety and awarded reimbursement to Panama of $6.9 million in costs of the arbitration and of its defense.

According to the tribunal, the arbitration "put in issue the competence and integrity of the Supreme Court of Panama" in a Panamanian proceeding in which Bridgestone claimed it had been denied justice. The Arnold & Porter team demonstrated that the Bridgestone claimants had not been denied justice. In fact, the tribunal found that Bridgestone had "over-reacted" to a loss in that Court and brought a hopeless arbitration case on the merits in which there was also "not a scintilla of evidence" of damages caused because the claimants' damages theory was "built on sand."

Arnold & Porter has gone 3-for-3 in defending Panama before ICSID. Previously, the firm defended the State in ICSID cases initiated by Transglobal Green Energy and its Panamanian affiliate Transglobal Green Energy de Panama and Nations Energy Inc. The firm has also been assisting Panama in connection with the ICSID Rules amendment process.

The Arnold & Porter team was led by international arbitration partners Whitney Debevoise, Gaela Gehring Flores and Mallory Silberman; and included associates Amy Endicott, Katelyn Horne, Michael Rodriguez and Brian Vaca. Tax partners Will Needle and Ben Berk and trademark partners Lou Ederer and Roberta Horton provided specialist advice. The case is Bridgestone Licensing Services, Inc. and Bridgestone Americas, Inc. v. Republic of Panama (ICSID Case No. ARB/16/34).