Archive: March 2009

1
Arbitration of Disputes Arising from the Financial Crisis
2
K&L Gates Arbitration World, March 2009
3
Washington Supreme Court Holds the Statute of Limitations Does Not Apply to Safeco Field Construction
4
Constructing liability: Maintaining corporate protection

Arbitration of Disputes Arising from the Financial Crisis

By: Clare TannerPaul F. Donahue

The current turmoil in financial markets has led to an increase in disputes involving financial institutions.  Parties may have entered into transactions in better times with little consideration given to the forum in which future disputes would play out. In today’s far more challenging circumstances, the choice of forum may be central to the satisfactory resolution of disputes.

In some areas, it is common for disputes involving financial institutions to be resolved through arbitration.  The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) is the largest self-regulatory organization, i.e., non-governmental regulator, for all securities firms doing business in the United States. (FINRA’s rulemaking, however, is subject to approval by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).)  Both individual and institutional customers can require a FINRA member to arbitrate disputes.  Indeed, most, if not all, securities broker/dealers will refuse to do business with customers who do not agree to arbitrate disputes.  Disputes between FINRA members may also be submitted to arbitration.

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K&L Gates Arbitration World, March 2009

Arbitration World is an update for clients and contacts on recent developments in international arbitration law and practice.

From the Editors

Welcome to the 8th edition of Arbitration World, a publication from K&L Gates’ Arbitration Group that highlights significant developments and issues in international and domestic arbitration for executives and in-house counsel with responsibility for dispute resolution.

We are pleased to announce the opening on March 2nd of our office in Singapore. This represents our fifth Asia office and 32nd location worldwide, including offices in eight of what many view as the key venues for international arbitration:  Paris, London, Hong Kong, Singapore, Beijing, New York, Washington, D.C. and Miami.

We hope you find this edition of Arbitration World of interest, and we welcome any feedback.

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Washington Supreme Court Holds the Statute of Limitations Does Not Apply to Safeco Field Construction

Wash. State Baseball Stadium Pub. Facilities Dist. v. Huber Hunt & Nichols-Kiewit Constr. Co., 202 P.3d 924 (Wash. 2009)

The Washington Supreme Court recently issued a decision in Wash. State Baseball Stadium Pub. Facilities Dist. v. Huber Hunt & Nichols-Kiewit Constr. Co. that may have far-reaching impact on other public construction projects.  In that case, the Court unanimously held the statute of limitations does not apply to claims regarding the construction of Safeco Field brought by the owner, the Washington State Baseball Stadium Public Facilities District (“PFD”), because the construction was for the common good of the state.

At issue were construction defect claims filed by the PFD against its general contractor. The PFD alleged the general contractor failed to follow the intumescent fire protection specification for structural steel members, causing a catastrophic failure of the fire protection. The PFD discovered the defect in 2005, and filed the lawsuit in 2006. This was more than seven years after substantial completion of Safeco Field; the applicable statute of limitations for contract claims is six years. RCW 4.16.040.

The Supreme Court overturned a summary judgment dismissal of the PFD’s claims granted by the trial court, and held that the statute of limitations does not apply. The Court relied on statutory language providing that limitation periods do not apply “to actions brought in the name or for the benefit of the state.” RCW 4.16.160. The majority of the Court’s opinion grapples with the question of whether the PFD brought the construction defect action “for the benefit of the state.”

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Constructing liability: Maintaining corporate protection

Fort Worth Business Press, March 9, 2009
By K&L Gates Partner,  David Coale

A critical component is shipped from Asia, sent across Texas by a distributor, and used on a Fort Worth construction project before it breaks and causes weeks of delay. Who in this “stream of commerce” may be responsible?

The owners of a corporation are generally protected from liability for the acts of the company.  Even so, under the “single business enterprise” doctrine, Texas law once held that a company could be responsible for the liability of another if they shared a name or operations such as accounting, employees, offices, and finances.

Read the entire article here.

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