Juan Basombrio

Partner and Co-Chair International Group
Dorsey & Whitney LLP

Mr. Basombrio is Co-Chair of the International Group, and a Partner in Dorsey’s Trial Department. He represents clients, throughout the United States and internationally, in complex business litigation, as well as in commercial and investment treaty arbitration before ICSID, PCA, LCIA, ICC and ad hoc. He also represents sovereign states in all aspects of litigation and arbitration. Mr. Basombrio prevailed, in a unanimous decision, before the United States Supreme Court representing the Republic of Austria’s railway, in the seminal case involving foreign sovereign immunity and the commercial activity exception. OBB Personenverkher AG v Sachs, 136 S.Ct. 390 (2015).

Sample Representative Experience Supreme Courts

United States Supreme Court. OBB Personenverkher AG v Sachs, 136 S.Ct. 390 (2015). Lead counsel for Austria’s national railway. Argued and obtained unanimous decision before United States Supreme Court dismissing tort action on foreign sovereign immunity grounds under the FSIA. Established jurisdictional gravamen standard to be applied in actions against foreign states engaged in commercial activity.

New York Court of Appeals. DDJ Management, LLC v. Rhone Group L.L.C., 931 N.E.2d 87 131 (N.Y. 2010). Lead counsel for executive of private investment firm. New York Court of Appeals established standard applicable to issue of reasonable reliance in tort actions based on representations in financial statements. Resolved.

California Supreme Court. Young America Corp. v. Superior Court, California Supreme Court, Case No. S141766 (2007), after remand, 2007 WL 2687587 (Cal. App. 2007). Lead counsel for private corporation. After remand from California Supreme Court, obtained dismissal of action on grounds that California Proposition 64 (a voter enacted initiative) deprived plaintiff of standing to sue as private attorney general. Resolved.

Minnesota Supreme Court. Metropolitan Sports Facilities Com’n v. General Mills, Inc., 470 N.W.2d 118 (Minn. 1991). Co-counsel for General Mills, Inc. Minnesota Supreme Court ruled on whether repeal of legislation aimed at contract involving National Football League’ black-out rule violated separation of powers/due process principles. Resolved.

International Arbitration Tribunals

Permanent Court of International Arbitration, The Hague, Netherlands. Dunkeld International Investments Ltd. v. Government of Belize, PCA Case No. 2010-21. Lead counsel for Belize in investment treaty arbitration related to telecommunications company in Belize, seeking $200 million in damages. Resolved.

Permanent Court of International Arbitration, The Hague, Netherlands. British Caribbean Bank Ltd. v. Government of Belize, PCA Case No. 2010-18. Lead counsel for Belize in investment treaty arbitration related to financial transactions in Belize and seeking $25 million in damages. Resolved.

International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes, World Bank, Washington D.C. Besserglik v. Republic of Mozambique. Lead counsel for Mozambique in investment treaty arbitration seeking $125 million in damages related to alleged fishing venture with South African entity. Pending.

International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes, World Bank, Washington D.C. Elsamex S.A. v. Republic of Honduras. Lead counsel for Honduras in investment treaty arbitration seeking $25 million in damages related to highway reconstruction project in Honduras. Resolved.

International Chamber of Commerce, Court of International Arbitration in London, England. Waterville Holdings (BVI) Ltd v. Republic of Ghana. Lead counsel for Ghana in commercial arbitration seeking €50 million in damages related to rehabilitation of three national football stadia in Ghana for African qualifications matches for the World Cup. Pending.

Ad Hoc Arbitration, UNCITRAL Rules, Washington D.C. Desarrollos de Utila S.A. v. Republic of Honduras. Lead counsel for Honduras in investment treaty arbitration seeking $150 million in damages related to alleged indirect expropriations of land surrounding an airport in Honduras. Pending.

Courts of Appeal

 United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. TJGEM LLC v. Republic of Ghana, 26 F.Supp.3d 1 (D.D.C. 2013), affirmed, 2015 WL 3653187 (D.C.Cir. 2015). Lead counsel for Ghana, City of Accra and Mayor of Accra. Obtained dismissal of RICO action in Washington D.C. seeking $595 million in damages in connection with public bidding for water and sewer infrastructure project in Ghana.

United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit (New York). Byrd v. Republic of Honduras, 974 F.Supp.2d 264 (S.D.N.Y. 2013), affirmed, 613 Fed.Appx. 31 (2d Cir. 2015). Lead counsel for Honduras. Obtained dismissal of an action seeking to collect $225 million judgment against proceeds of bond placement by Honduras in New York.

United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit (Texas). Amorrortu v. Republic of Peru, 570 F.Supp.2d 916 (S.D.Texas. 2008), affirmed, 325 Fed.Appx. 400 (5th Cir. 2009), cert. denied, 558 U.S. 991 (2009). Lead counsel for Peru. Obtained dismissal of action in Texas seeking $37 million in damages under oil field services contract in Peru.

United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit (Florida). Samco Global Arms, Inc. v. Republic of Honduras, 511 Fed.Appx. 828 (11th Cir. 2013). Lead counsel for Honduras. Obtained dismissal of action in Florida seeking unspecified damages in connection with alleged breach of military armaments consignment agreement.

United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit (New York). Figueiredo Ferraz E Engenharia de Projeto Ltda. v. Republic of Peru, 665 F.3d 384 (2d Cir. 2011). Lead counsel for Peru. Obtained dismissal of action in New York seeking to enforce $22 million foreign commercial arbitral award arising from infrastructure project in Peru.

United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit (California). Barapind v. Government of Republic of India, 844 F.3d 824 (9th Cir. 2016). Lead counsel for India. Obtained dismissal of action seeking $10 million in damages for alleged violation of international human rights treaty in connection with extradition of terrorist to India.

Florida Court of Appeals. GMI, LLC v. Asociacion del Futbol Argentino, 193 So.3d 60 (Fla.App. 2016). Lead counsel for Argentine national football association. Obtained dismissal of action seeking $100 million in damages in connection with alleged contract to televise Argentine national team football games worldwide.

District Courts

United States District Court, Southern District of New York. Alfa Corporation (Alfa Insurance) v. OAO Alfa Bank (2007). Lead counsel for Alabama-based Alfa Insurance. Obtained permanent injunction against OAO Alfa Bank, the largest private bank in Russia, precluding it from using the name “Alfa” in the United States.

United States District Court, District of Columbia. DRC, Inc. v. Republic of Honduras, 71 F.Supp.3d 201 (D.D.C. 2014). Lead counsel for the Republic of Honduras. Obtained dismissal of action seeking $51 million in damages in connection with infrastructure project in Honduras.

United States District Court, Central District of California. Trinity Venture Group LLC v. U.S. Bank, N.A. et al. (2005). Lead counsel for U.S. Bank, N.A., in action in California for alleged breach of contract and misappropriation of trade secrets seeking $350 million in damages in connection with debit card processing joint venture. Resolved.

United States Bankruptcy Court, Northern District of California. Shanghai Automation Instrument Co. v. Matthew Hsien-Hsiu Tsai (2003). Lead counsel for SAIC. Obtained $31 million judgment after bench trial against joint venture partner for breach of fiduciary duties in conjunction with international joint venture to produce laptop computers.

United States District Court, Central District of California. Edumoz LLC v. Republic of Mozambique, 968 F.Supp.2d 1041 (C.D.Cal. 2011). Lead counsel for Mozambique. Obtained dismissal of contract action seeking $7 million. Pending in Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.

United States District Court, Southern District of Florida. Hoban v. Republic of Peru, — F.Supp.3d –, 2016 WL 4718174 (S.D.Fla. 2016). Lead counsel for Peru. Obtained dismissal of action seeking $11 million in connection with internal sovereign bonds issued by Peru in connection with economic crisis of 1980’s.

Foreign Courts:

Courts of the Republic of Ecuador. Managed defense of Occidental Petroleum’s subsidiary in suit alleging environmental contamination in connection with construction of oil pipeline in the Ecuadorean Amazon. Together with local counsel, obtained defense verdict, then affirmed by the Ecuadorean Court of Appeals and Supreme Court.

Education:

University of Houston, Houston, Texas. Bachelor of Arts, Political Science, 1986. Indiana University School of Law, Bloomington, Indiana. Doctor of Jurisprudence, 1989.

Languages: English and Spanish, fluent. Born: February 18, 1964; Lima, Peru Citizenship: United States of America

Professional Activities:

Practiced litigation (primarily defense) for over 28 years, and have been counsel in over 125 federal court cases. Over 95 court decisions published in official reporters or Westlaw.

Academic activities:

Visiting Practitioner on International Law, Indiana University School of Law.

Visiting Lecturer on International Law, San Francisco University Law School, Ecuador.

International arbitrator:

Country-designated investment treaty arbitrator, International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes, World Bank, Washington D.C.

International Arbitrator, Int’l Center for Dispute Resolution, Am. Arbitration Association. International Arbitrator, Costa Rican and Peruvian Chambers of Commerce.

Organizations:

Member, Lincoln Club, Orange County, CA.

Member of the Board of Directors, Orange County Business Council, CA.

Chairman of the Economic Development Committee, Orange County Business Council.

Sample speaking engagements:

Speaker, “International Dispute Resolution,” Hispanic National Bar Association Annual Convention, United States.

Speaker, “Alternative Dispute Resolution,” CA Minority Counsel Program, United States. Speaker, “Precedents in Investment Treaty Arbitration,” Arbitration Congress, South America.

Speaker, ICC and IBA “Conference on Latin American and Investor-State Arbitration Disputes,” Central America.

Speaker, “Enforcing & Attacking International Arbitration Awards under the New York and Panama Conventions,” Arbitration Congress, South America.

Speaker, “The Responsibilities of Arbitrators and Arbitration Centers,” Arbitration Congress, South America.

Speaker, “Good Faith in Arbitration,” Arbitration Congress, South America.

Sample interviews on international law on CNN en Español:

  • Legal Proceedings Before the World Trade Organization
  • Legal Proceedings Involving Latin American Countries
  • Legal Developments in Latin America
  • Interview from Tegucigalpa, Honduras
  • Recent Legal Actions in Latin America
  • Costa Rica and Nicaragua Boundary Dispute
  • Venezuela’s Exit from the ICSID Arbitration Center
  • Impact on Foreign Investors of Political and Legal Events in Ecuador

Sample articles and press mentions: