On July 3, 2018, the New York Appellate Division, First Department, unanimously affirmed the Commercial Division’s order compelling arbitration of all eleven claims brought by Huntsman International LLC against Albemarle Corporation and its subsidiaries Rockwood Specialties Group Inc. and Rockwood Holdings, Inc.
Davis Polk is representing Albemarle, a global chemicals company and one of the world’s largest suppliers of lithium, in a contentious litigation brought by Huntsman, a competitor chemicals company, alleging fraud, breach of contract, and other claims arising out of a $1 billion sale of several chemicals businesses from Rockwood to Huntsman in 2013. The complaint alleges that Rockwood made misrepresentations to Huntsman about a new technology that is employed at one of the facilities Huntsman acquired from Rockwood in the 2013 transaction. Huntsman seeks hundreds of millions of dollars in damages. Huntsman filed the action in the Commercial Division of New York Supreme Court, but Justice Masley of the Commercial Division held in January 2018 that the dispute must be arbitrated before the American Arbitration Association. In so holding, the Court adopted Davis Polk’s arguments to find that all counts in the complaint, including the claims of fraud, fall within the scope of the arbitration clause in the Stock Purchase Agreement between Huntsman and Rockwood. On July 3, 2018, the Appellate Division, First Department affirmed the order compelling arbitration and staying all proceedings in the litigation. Like the trial court, the Appellate Division accepted Davis Polk’s arguments that each of Huntsman’s fraud, breach of contract and other claims are disputes falling within the scope of the mandatory arbitration clause in the Stock Purchase Agreement Huntsman signed. In addition, the Appellate Division affirmed the trial court’s order holding that the individual executive defendants can compel the claims against them to be arbitrated as well.
The Davis Polk team representing Albemarle includes partner Frances E. Bivens and associates Julia Kiechel, Maude Paquin, Hannah B. Gerstenblatt, Stephen J. Yanni and Jacquelyn Swanner. All members of the Davis Polk team are based in the New York office.
The individual executive defendants are represented by Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP. Huntsman is represented by Eugene F. Assaf, P.C., Peter A. Bellacosa, Shireen Barday, Michael F. Williams, P.C. and Daniel A. Bress of Kirkland & Ellis LLP, and Arthur R. Miller of New York University School of Law.