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White & Case Wins Victory for Ioan Micula in the US Court of Appeals – District of Columbia Circuit

Global law firm White & Case LLP has secured a crucial victory for Ioan Micula, S.C. European Food S.A., S.C. Starmill S.R.L. and S.C. Multipack S.R.L. before the Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit that upheld the US$356 million ICSID arbitral award against Romania in the United States. 

“Our client is very pleased with the decision of the DC Circuit,” said White & Case partner Hansel Pham, who is part of the team representing Micula and the corporate petitioners. “This judgment is an important step in recovering the award rendered in favor of our client over six years ago.”

The judgment concerned a 2013 award issued by an ICSID tribunal against Romania for violations of the Sweden-Romania bilateral investment treaty as a result of Romania’s repeal of certain investment incentives that petitioners had relied upon when investing in Romania in the early 2000s. After the issuance of the award, the petitioners began pursuing enforcement actions in Romania, the US, the UK, Belgium and Sweden. 

With respect to the enforcement proceedings in the US, White & Case secured a decision by the US District Court for the District of Columbia in September 2019 confirming the ICSID award and entering judgment in the petitioners’ favor in the amount of US$356 million. 

On appeal, the DC Circuit panel affirmed in full the lower court’s judgment and rejected Romania’s arguments that the lower court had erred in converting the award into a US$356 million judgment. In addition to dismissing Romania’s procedural arguments, the DC Circuit also rejected arguments from the European Commission, who appeared as amicus curiae, to challenge the district court’s jurisdiction to enforce the Award. 

The White & Case team was led by partner Hansel Pham (Washington, DC), and included counsel Jacqueline Chung, and associates Laura Grai and Taylor Allen (all in New York). 

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