Bacardi Int'l Ltd. v. V. Suarez & Co., No. 12-1032 (1st Cir. 2013)Annotate this Case
This federal case sought confirmation of an arbitration award made at the first, non-liability stage of arbitration as to a contract, and which was filed approximately one month after the arbitral opponents had filed a petition in the Puerto Rico Court of First Instance to vacate the same award. The underlying arbitration resulted from the non-renewal of a sub-distribution agreement between V. Suarez & Co. (VSC) and Bacardi Caribbean Corporation (BCC). The federal district court dismissed the case for lack of subject-matter jurisdiction, finding that an absent party, Bacardi Corporation (BC), was an indispensable party whose joinder would destroy complete diversity. The First Circuit Court of Appeals reversed, holding (1) the federal district court engaged in an incomplete Fed. R. Civ. P. 19(a) analysis, its conclusions under Rule 19 were wrong, and therefore, the proceeding should not have been dismissed for lack of jurisdiction; and (2) the federal court should stay its hand where the Court of First Instance confirmed the award and that decision had been pending on appeal in the court of appeals since August 22, 2012. Remanded.