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Devas Multimedia Private Ltd. v. Antrix Corp. Ltd., No. C18-1360-TSZ (W.D. Wash. Apr. 16, 2019)

Devas Mutlimedia Private Ltd. (“Devas”) brought an action to confirm a foreign arbitral award issued against Antrix Corp. Ltd. (“Antrix”), an entity owned and controlled by the Government of India. Antrix moved to dismiss Devas’s petition on the grounds that Antrix was not subject to the court’s jurisdiction and based on the doctrine of forum non conveniens.

In its evaluation of the motion to dismiss for lack of jurisdiction, the court explained that the parties did not dispute that personal jurisdiction existed as a matter of statute under the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act (the “
FSIA“). However, Antrix argued that it was entitled to additional, constitutional due process protections requiring a minimum contacts analysis. The court disagreed. Although U.S. Supreme Court and Ninth Circuit cases had assumed in dicta that foreign states were “persons” entitled to due process, the court found persuasive decisions from the Second, Fifth and D.C. circuits that had held that when the state exercises sufficient control over a foreign corporation, the due process clause does not apply and statutory personal jurisdiction under the FSIA is all that is required. Therefore, the court had jurisdiction over Antrix.

As to its
forum non conveniens analysis, the court denied Antrix’s motion to dismiss in favor of the courts of India. Because “only a court of the United States . . . may attach the commercial property of a foreign nation located in the United States,” Devas had no adequate alternative forum in which to execute on property Antrix may own in the United States. In addition, the court cited active investigations and proceedings against Devas and its officers and agents in India—including both civil and criminal proceedings—which raised additional concerns about the neutrality of proceedings in India.

Although declining to grant the relief sought in Antrix’s motion to dismiss, the court exercised its discretion pursuant to Article VI of the
New York Convention to temporarily stay the action pending resolution of Antrix’s challenge to the arbitral award in India’s courts. Article VI provides, in pertinent part, that “the authority before which the award is sought to be relied upon may, if it considers it proper, adjourn the decision on the enforcement of the award and may also, on the application of the party claiming enforcement of the award, order the other party to give suitable security.” The court invited the parties to submit further briefing on whether, and at what amount, the court should require security to be posted as a condition of the stay.

A version of this post originally appeared in the July 2019 edition of Baker McKenzie’s International Litigation & Arbitration Newsletter, which is edited by David Zaslowsky and Grant Hanessian.


Grant Hanessian is a member of the Dispute Resolution team at Baker McKenzie New York. Grant Hanessian serves as global co-chair of the Firm’s International Arbitration Group. He chaired the Litigation Department of the Firm’s New York office from 2003 to 2012. Mr. Hanessian is the US alternate member of the ICC International Court of Arbitration in Paris, vice chairman of the Arbitration Committee of the US Council for International Business (US national committee of the ICC), and a member of the ICC’s Commission on Arbitration and its Task Forces on Arbitration Involving States or State Entities and on Financial Institutions and International Arbitration (leader of Investment Arbitration and Banking & Finance work stream). He is also a member of the American Arbitration Association—International Centre for Dispute Resolution’s International Advisory Committee and its Advisory Committee on Brazil, the International Arbitration Club of New York, the Arbitration Committee of the International Institute for Conflict Prevention and Resolution, the New York City Bar Association's Committee on International Commercial Disputes and Club Español del Arbitraje, and is a founding board member of the New York International Arbitration Center. Grant Hanessian can be reached at [email protected] and +1 212 891 3986.


Andrew Riccio is an associate in the Dispute Resolution group at Baker McKenzie in New York. Mr. Riccio focuses his practice on international arbitration. He has represented private parties in commercial disputes, as well as states and investors arbitrating investor-state disputes. He has experience representing clients in domestic, international and commercial litigation in federal and state courts. Mr. Riccio has also advised clients in Spanish. Prior to joining Baker & McKenzie, Mr. Riccio served both as a lawyer at a boutique litigation firm as well as outside general counsel at an organic foods company. Andrew Riccio can be reached at [email protected] and +1 212-626-4229.