Nicolle Kownacki is counsel in the Firm's International Arbitration and Commercial Litigation Groups. She represents and advises private companies, foreign sovereigns and international financial institutions in the resolution of international disputes. She has represented clients in arbitrations before the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID), as well as in litigation in US federal district and appellate courts. Her experience includes litigation related to the Alien Tort Statute, 28 U.S.C. § 1350, the US Anti-Terrorism Act, 18 U.S.C. § 2333 et seq., and the Federal Arbitration Act, 9 U.S.C. § 1 et seq. Ms. Kownacki is also actively involved in pro bono matters at the firm.
During law school, Ms. Kownacki served as a Managing Editor of the UCLA Law Review and Chief Articles Editor of the UCLA Journal of International Law & Foreign Affairs. She worked as a clerk at the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY), Office of the Prosecutor, in The Hague, Netherlands, and also conducted extensive pro bono research in Bogotá, Colombia, on witness protection programs for human rights victims.
Prior to attending law school, Ms. Kownacki worked on extradition and mutual legal assistance requests to and from Latin America, as an international analyst at the US Department of Justice, Criminal Division, Office of International Affairs.
Güneş Tekstil Konfeksiyon Sanayi ve Ticaret Limited Şirketi and others v. Republic of Uzbekistan
Representing the Republic of Uzbekistan in an ICSID arbitration under the Turkey-Uzbekistan Bilateral Investment Treaty concerning a shopping complex.
Abaclat and others v. Argentine Republic
Represented tens of thousands of Italian holders of Argentine sovereign bonds in an ICSID arbitration under the Italy-Argentina Bilateral Investment Treaty. The bondholders received a substantial settlement in resolution of all of their claims.
Oxus Gold plc v. Republic of Uzbekistan
Represented the Republic of Uzbekistan in an UNCITRAL arbitration under the UK-Uzbekistan Bilateral Investment Treaty concerning two mining projects. Uzbekistan prevailed in obtaining the dismissal of more than 99 percent of the claimed US$ 1.33 billion in damages.
TECO Guatemala Holdings, LLC v. Republic of Guatemala
Assisted with representation of TECO Guatemala Holdings, LLC in an ICSID arbitration under the CAFTA-DR concerning electricity distribution. TECO prevailed and was awarded damages and costs for Guatemala's treaty breaches.
Osseiran v. International Finance Corporation
Represented IFC at trial in U.S. federal court case involving international organizational immunity and other issues.
Anti-Terrorism Act and Alien Tort Statute Litigation
Successfully defended premier Saudi bank alleged to have financially supported terrorism. Won pre-trial dismissal of consolidated multidistrict actions claiming over US$1 billion in the Southern District of New York; won appeal in Second Circuit and successfully opposed U.S. Supreme Court review.
U.S. Enforcement of International Arbitration Awards
Successfully obtained recognition of billion-dollar New York Convention awards against Republic of the Congo and defended judgment on appeal to D.C. Circuit.
Are Antitrust Violations Crimes Involving Moral Turpitude?, National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers' The Champion Magazine, April 2012, (co-author with Eric Grannon)
Prospects for ICSID Arbitration in Post-Denunciation Countries: An Updated Approach, 2010, 15 UCLA Journal of International Law and Foreign Affairs 529