In a recent opinion, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled on the novel question of whether a district court had removal jurisdiction under 9 U.S.C. § 205 where a defendant raises an affirmative defense relating to an arbitral award falling under the Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards. The case arose from a dispute over medical licensing rights between entities from the British Virgin Islands, Israel, and California. After an arbitration decision finding that Infuturia Global had a valid license to develop, market, and use certain medical techniques, a California federal district court lifted an existing litigation stay on a related state court action. Infuturia moved to remand, arguing that removal was improper under 9 U.S.C. § 205 because defendants were not party to the foreign arbitration agreement. On appeal, the Ninth Circuit affirmed the district court’s ruling, holding that because an arbitration agreement or award falling under the Convention “relates to” an action’s subject matter if it could conceivably affect the action’s outcome, a district court does indeed have jurisdiction. Infuturia Global Ltd. v. Sequus Pharmaceuticals, Inc., Case No. 09-16378 (9th Cir. Feb. 7, 2011).
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Ninth Circuit: district courts have removal jurisdiction over cases related to convention on foreign arbitral awards
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