The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit upheld a federal district court’s enforcement of an arbitration award after finding that the Appellant’s claims were precluded by foreign proceedings. American Hearing Systems, doing business as Interton, appealed the enforcement of the foreign arbitration award, arguing that the district court did not have subject-matter jurisdiction under the Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards (“the Convention”). Additionally, Interton argued, even if the court had subject matter jurisdiction, the written arbitration agreement did not apply to the current dispute between the parties.
AVR Communication, Ltd., an Israeli company, sought arbitration in Israel asserting a number of claims governed by a previous arbitration agreement. Interton argued that the disputes giving rise to the claims were outside of the scope of the contract containing the arbitration provision. Interton failed to prevail on this argument in both the Israeli arbitration and later in the enforcement of the award by AVR in federal district court.
On appeal, Interton interpreted the language of the Convention to impose a subject matter jurisdiction requirement to include presentment of a written contract. The Eighth Circuit summarily dismissed this argument. The court found that the issue was not whether there was a written agreement, but whether the disputes in question were covered by the agreement to arbitrate. The court held that this question was precluded by the foreign arbitration proceeding and upheld the award. AVR Communications, Ltd. v. American Hearing Systems, Inc., Case No. 14-2313 (8th Cir. July 14, 2015)