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Saudi Company: Delay Tactics Justify Attorney Fees in Arbitral Win

October 25, 2019 | Posted in : Fee Award Factors, Fee Dispute, Fee Entitlement, Fee Request, Legal Bills / Legal Costs

A recent Law 360 story by Morgan Conley, “Saudi Co. Says Delay Tactics Justify Fees in $5.3M Arbital Win,” reports that a Saudi Arabian company told a Texas federal court that "justice demands" a Houston-based transportation and logistics company pay its attorney fees for challenging the confirmation of a $5.3 million arbitral award in a contract dispute without evidence.

Gulf Haulage Heavy Lift Co. said in a motion that Swanberg International Ltd. should cover its $216,647 legal bill from enforcing a 2017 Saudi Arabian arbitral award.  The federal court confirmed the ruling in August, directing Swanberg to reimburse Gulf Haulage for equipment related to a joint venture to erect, dismantle and transport oil and gas drilling rigs.

The Saudi Arabian oil logistics company said in its fee bid that Swanberg's delaying tactics during the litigation should not be rewarded, arguing that the Houston company had "simply rehashed challenges it had already lost in the Saudi courts."  "None of Swanberg's failed arguments against confirmation had a scintilla of legal or factual support," Gulf Haulage said.  On Oct. 10, the court ordered Swanberg to pay Gulf Haulage $6.3 million, including prejudgment interest.

Gulf Haulage launched the confirmation fight in November after Swanberg refused to abide by the arbitration panel's ruling and return the $5.33 million Gaul Haulage had already paid the Houston company for equipment.  The companies entered a partnership in 2013 to build a Saudi-based heavy oilfield equipment operation, but it fell through.  The arbitration panel also terminated their partnership agreement.