Arent Fox Launches US Enforcement of Foreign Arbitration Award

Arent Fox LLP, on behalf of UAB Skyroad Leasing, filed a petition in the US District Court for the District of Columbia on March 18, 2020, seeking to enforce an arbitration award of more than $20 million against OJSC Tajik Air, Tajikistan’s state-owned airline.

The Arent Fox team representing Skyroad includes Partners Timothy J. Feighery and Michael S. Cryan and Associate Jason Rotstein. Lithuanian counsel for Skyroad is Paulius Docka of Primus–Derling in Vilnius.

The enforcement action relates to an arbitral award made in Vilnius, Lithuania based on two aircraft lease agreements between Skyroad and Tajik Air. Tajik Air breached the agreements by failing to pay rent and by failing to return the aircraft upon the conclusion of the lease period.

In 2017, Skyroad initiated an arbitration before the Vilnius Court of Commercial Arbitration, which resulted in an award in April 2018 in favor of Skyroad on all accounts, providing $20 million in damages, plus interest and legal fees. The Lithuanian Court of Appeal upheld the award in July 2018 upon application for set aside.

The action to enforce the Lithuanian arbitral award was brought before the District Court under the Federal Arbitration Act, New York Convention, and the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act (FSIA), as an action against a foreign state or agency or instrumentality thereof. On March 23, 2020, the Court granted Skyroad’s emergency motion to serve Respondent Tajik Air via an alternative mode of service under the FSIA.

Arent Fox LLP has the experience and is well-positioned to handle all client issues related to enforcement of foreign arbitral awards and actions against foreign sovereigns.

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