Benihana, Inc. v. Benihana of Tokyo, LLC, No. 14-841 (2d Cir. 2015)Annotate this Case
Benihana America obtained a preliminary injunction in aid of arbitration of a dispute arising under its license agreement with Benihana of Tokyo, prohibiting Tokyo from: selling unauthorized food items at the restaurant it operates under the license agreement; using certain trademarks in connection with that restaurant in a manner not approved by the license agreement; and arguing to the arbitral panel, if it rules that Tokyo breached the license agreement, that Tokyo should be given additional time to cure any defaults. The Second Circuit affirmed with respect to the menu offering and trademark use injunctions. The court reasonably concluded that each of the relevant factors favored Benihana America. The court reversed the prohibition on arguing to the arbitral panel for an extended cure period. When a dispute is properly before an arbitrator, a court should not interfere with the arbitral process on the ground that, in its view of the merits, a particular remedy would not be warranted. Benihana America may challenge an arbitrator’s decision in court only after it has been issued. It may not subvert its agreement to arbitrate by obtaining an advance judicial determination that there are no grounds for the arbitrator to grant a particular remedy.