Client Spotlight: Stoel Rives Prevails for Jess Smith & Sons Cotton LLC in Arbitration Over Group Boycott Antitrust Claim

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Congratulations to client Jess Smith & Sons Cotton LLC and to the litigation team of Ed Duckers, Mike Brown, Jon Miles and paralegal Roxanne Forestiere on a final arbitration award they received recently that awarded a complete defense to Jess Smith in a $300 million federal group boycott antitrust claim. In a complete and resounding victory for Jess Smith, the arbitration tribunal also awarded the company all of its requested attorneys' fees and costs in excess of $3.5 million.

This case was originally filed in the federal court in the Central District of California by Quinn Emanuel on behalf of its client, Tradeline Enterprises, an international cotton spinner located in India. The federal court complaint asserted a group boycott antitrust claim against Jess Smith, a cotton merchant, and J.G. Boswell Company, a California cotton farm that is one of the largest in the world. The Complaint alleged that the Supima Association was a co-conspirator, but did not name Supima as a defendant because of the arbitration clause in Plaintiff’s license agreement with Supima. Despite that, Jess Smith obtained an order compelling the dispute to arbitration under the doctrine of equitable estoppel – based on stellar briefing from Jon Miles, one of the leading authorities on that doctrine. Plaintiff then demanded arbitration before the International Center for Dispute Resolution branch of the American Arbitration Association. After extensive briefing and preparation, the matter was arbitrated over the course of six days in late February 2018 before a three arbitrator panel in Toronto.

The litigation team also included attorney Matt Struhar and support staff Margie Cronin and Dawn Forgeur. Randy Foster provided the team with valuable insight on ICDR procedures, and it relied heavily on his decision in the ESCO arbitration in support of its successful application for fees and costs.

Key Contributors

Michael B. Brown
Randolph C. Foster
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