The United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL) Arbitration Rules were adopted in 1976, and have been both broadly used and widely praised as simple and straightforward. Remarkably, in 34 years they have not been revised – until now. Revisions were finally approved this summer, and arbitration agreements concluded after August 15, 2010 and…

When an Owner comes after the Contractor for liquidated delay damages (LDs) after a project is completed late, the Contractor’s only substantive defense is to argue that the delay was excused by force majeure or Owner actions (naturally there may be procedural defenses, like timeliness). However, a recent decision by the United States Court of…

The U.S. Supreme Court has been deciding cases regarding arbitration at (for them) a furious pace recently, and the latest decision (Rent-A-Center West, Inc. v. Jackson, 2010 WL 2471058 (June 21, 2010)) reconfirms the Court’s continued strong support for enforcing arbitration agreements as written, even where this deprives the courts of any significant role in…

With reason, non-Americans tend to be wide-eyed at the extent to which U.S courts require affirmative disclosure of potentially relevant documents and facts – and at the cost these discovery procedures routinely entail. One change just announced, however, represents a bit of retrenchment that will make handling construction disputes in U.S. Federal courts a bit…

On Monday, April 19, 2010, a federal judge in the Eastern District of Virginia handed down “the longest-ever prison sentence” for a Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) violation. Charles Jumet was sentenced to 87 months in prison for conspiring to violate the FCPA and for making false statements to federal agents. Jumet, a vice president…

When forced to litigate in the U.S., many businesses – especially multinational ones – prefer to be in federal rather than state court. The U.S. Supreme Court just made it a bit easier to fulfill that desire. Most construction disputes are contract cases not involving federal law, so a federal court will only have jurisdiction…

The U.S. has been a staunch supporter of arbitration since 1925, when the U.S. Arbitration Act became law. The Arbitration Act makes arbitration agreements binding and simple to enforce, without significant exception. Rather suddenly, a substantial backlash against mandatory arbitration has appeared on the scene. One of the clearest indicators is the proposed Arbitration Fairness…

Non-U.S. companies frequently ask whether they are eligible to compete for U.S. Government construction and renovation projects, whether within the U.S. or on U.S.-owned facilities abroad. The answer is a simple “yes” in the great majority of cases, unless the project requires access to secure or classified information. Much of the work on U.S. Embassies,…

The principal weapon of the U.S. government to combat corruption in international business dealings is the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA). To say that the U.S. is now aggressively pursuing FCPA cases is an understatement. In the past year, we have seen billions of dollars of fines, sting operations, and the pursuit of individuals around the world. Here are some of the latest FCPA headlines:

The spreading trend toward “green” building has resulted in a number of competing and overlapping certification systems, with only faint hope in sight of better standardization. United States builders are most familiar with the LEED system sponsored by the United States Green Building Council (USGBC). Through USGBC’s association with the World Green Building Council, LEED…