ISC Holding AG v. Nobel Biocare Fin. AG, No. 10-4867 (2d Cir. 2012)Annotate this Case
An Agreement was signed by ISC and by Gerber, treasurer of Nobel, under which ISC was to manage $200 million of Nobel assets; the Agreement provided for arbitration. Months later, ISC filed a petition to compel arbitration. Nobel argued that the court lacked personal jurisdiction and that the Agreement had been fraudulently procured by ISC, a firm with no history of asset management, and Gerber, who, without authority, had signed in exchange for a kickback. The district court denied the petition, noting that the American Arbitration Association had refused to arbitrate, because rules specified in the Agreement were incompatible with AAA arbitration. On remand, discovery problems arose; the court allowed withdrawal by ISC counsel; ISC filed notice of voluntary dismissal without prejudice and requested that the judge recuse himself because of his conversation with counsel about reasons for withdrawal. The court denied recusal, vacated notice of dismissal, and rescheduled the trial. ISC unsuccessfully attempted to obtain a stay. At trial, ISC declined to call witnesses or introduce evidence; the court dismissed with prejudice. The Second Circuit affirmed. Even if ISC counsel conveyed extrajudicial information, denial of recusal was appropriate. ISC’s purported voluntary dismissal was improper because Rule 41(a)(1)(A)(i) does not apply to petitions to compel arbitration.