Simon Bloom argued before the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit on Tuesday, May 17 in Atlanta. Bloom Sugarman represents OA Development, Inc. (“OAD”), the Appellee in the matter. In April 2014, Appellant Bamberger-Rosenheim, Ltd. (also known as “Profimex”) filed an arbitration against OAD through the International Chamber of Commerce, seeking the payment of certain contractual fees. OAD filed a counterclaim for defamation, and Profimex asked the arbitrator to dismiss the counterclaim. The arbitrator refused to do so, and the parties proceeded to litigate their various claims through six months of discovery and pre-trial briefing. Following a week-long trial in July 2015 and post-trial briefing, the arbitrator ruled in OAD’s favor on its defamation claim. The arbitrator awarded OAD approximately $1,000,000 in compensatory damages, punitive damages, and attorney’s fees.
The U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia confirmed the arbitration award to OAD. Profimex appealed to the Eleventh Circuit. Profimex continues to argue that OAD’s defamation counterclaim should not have been arbitrated in the Atlanta proceeding under the applicable venue provision found in the parties’ arbitration agreement. That issue was at the center of Tuesday’s appellate argument, with Mr. Bloom arguing that the arbitrator properly decided OAD’s counterclaim and violated neither the parties’ arbitration agreement nor any applicable federal or international arbitration law.
Click here for audio of Tuesday’s oral arguments.