International Joint Venture Wins Multiple Multijurisdictional Suits Against Major Engineering, Procurement, and Construction Contractor

Rome, New York, and the U.S. Virgin Islands (USVI) were the venues for this multijurisdictional lawsuit resolved favorably by Shipley Snell for its client. Shipley Snell represented HOVENSA LLC, a joint venture between subsidiaries of Hess Oil Corporation and Petroleos de Venezuela S.A. (PDVSA), in multiple lawsuits against a large international EPC contractor.

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The dispute arose from delays and cost overruns in a $130 million-plus project for the engineering, procurement, and construction of a low sulfur gasoline hydrotreater at HOVENSA’s former refinery in St. Croix, USVI. The litigation included various jurisdictional disputes fought in the courts of New York and the USVI, as well as a proceeding initiated by the contractor in the courts of Rome to enjoin HOVENSA from drawing on more than $13 million in letters of credit posted by the contractor through a bank in Rome.

Shipley Snell, in collaboration with Rome counsel and HOVENSA, successfully defeated the injunction action in Rome and obtained an award for legal expenses from the court. Further, through Shipley Snell’s representation in the U.S. courts, HOVENSA prevailed on key jurisdictional disputes while efficiently managing substantial document production and written discovery.

HOVENSA’s early successes led to a favorable negotiated settlement prior to any depositions being taken, with the EPC contractor dropping its $30 million-plus counterclaims and ultimately paying more than $27 million on HOVENSA’s claims.