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Judd L. Kessler

Washington, D.C.
p +1 202.778.3080
f +1 202.778.3063
  • 1900 K Street, NW
    Suite 1110
    Washington, D.C. 20006

Contact Information

Ver la biografía de Judd Kessler en español

Judd practices in the areas of international business transactions, international project financing and government contracting. He has been a partner at Porter Wright Morris & Arthur since 1982.

Judd’s practice involves counseling of major international companies both as to their immediate legal needs and more broadly as an advisor on major foreign policy issues affecting business. Based on his experience and long established relationships in both the executive and legislative branches of the United States government, he has an established track record of enabling clients to identify and deal with sensitive political and business issues based on information going well beyond what is made public in ordinary media sources. He is knowledgeable in all aspects of U.S. export controls, including ITAR, EAR and OFAC, and has successfully managed complex voluntary disclosures and investigations related to the above.

Judd has also become a leading international arbitrator in cases involving foreign investment, having served as president of several major arbitration tribunals, as well as an important resource for the Porter Wright litigation/arbitration team in representing major clients in international arbitration cases.

Prior to joining Porter Wright, Judd was assistant general counsel of the Agency for International Development (AID). He was appointed by President Reagan to the career rank of counselor in the Senior Foreign Service. He was also chief counsel for AID's Near East and North African programs and before that, chief counsel for its Latin American and Caribbean programs. Earlier, he was chief legislative counsel for the agency, special assistant to the under secretary of state for military and security assistance and resident regional legal adviser for AID in South America for five years. During this period, Judd had principal responsibility for legal aspects of cases involving more than $800 million in assets of U.S.-owned private investments nationalized in Chile by the Allende government, including a major role in representing the interests of Overseas Private Investment Corp. which had issued political risk insurance for many of those investments.

Representative Matters

  • RWE Innogy GmbH and RWE Innogy Aersa S. A. U. v. Kingdom of Spain 
    Appointed to three-arbitrator ICSID tribunal (with S. Wordworth, Pres. and A. Joubin-Bret) to decide case involving wind-power project brought under the Energy Charter Treaty. Case in initial stages.
  • Tenaris S. A. and Talta Trading v. Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela
    Appointed to three-arbitrator ICSID tribunal (with J. Beechey, Pres. and T. Landau) to decide case arising from alleged expropriation of steel tube manufacturing plant. Award issued in 2016.
  • Marion Unglaube v. Government of Costa Rica 
    Chairman of three arbitrator ICSID panel (with F. Berman, B. Cremades) to decide a claim brought by a German investor against the government of Costa Rica. The case involved the alleged taking of real property designated for resort development as well as disputes regarding the scope of governmental rights in relation to regulatory and other powers vs. the rights and expectations of the owner. Award issued in 2012.
  • Tza Yap Shum v. Government of Peru 
    Chairman of three-arbitrator panel (with J. Fernandez Armesto, H. Otero) to decide the first ICSID claim by an investor of Chinese nationality. The case was bifurcated to deal first with complicated questions of jurisdiction. The first hearing in this matter was conducted in November 2007 and the final award was issued in 2011. A request for annulment of the award was rejected in 2015.
  • Japanese Joint Venture
    Participated as a member of counsel team in representing a Japanese joint venture in an arbitration in Tokyo involving allegations that the American partner had violated its contractual duties to the venture. Each side also alleged patent and copyright violations with respect to the venture's technology for manufacturing computer chips.
  • National Grid PLC v. Government of Argentina 
    Appointed as arbitrator by counsel for claimant, National Grid PLC (with A. Rigo, Pres. and Prof. A Garro). This proceeding was conducted largely in Spanish under the UNCITRAL rules but was administered by ICSID. The final award was issued in 2008.
  • Repsol S.A. v. Petroecuador 
    Chairman of three-arbitrator ICSID ad hoc committee (with Prof. P. Bernardini, G. Biggs) reviewing arbitral award against the Ecuadorian National Petroleum Company (Petroecuador). This proceeding was conducted entirely in Spanish. Final decision was issued in early 2007.
  • NEWCO, Inc. v. Government of Belize 
    Party-appointed arbitrator (with M. Hunter, A. Fiadjor) in UNCITRAL ad hoc case arising from alleged breach of concession contract for expansion of Belize International Airport; hearing in this matter was completed in January 2008. The final award was issued later that year.

The following cases are described in general terms due to confidentiality requirements: 

  • International airport concession contract dispute (party-appointed arbitrator in UNCITRAL ad hoc case arising from alleged breach of concession contract for expansion of international airport in Belize). 
  • Software company vs. foreign distributor (sole arbitrator appointed by the AAA/ICDR and International Commercial Arbitration Commission (IACAC) to decide an international distribution contract dispute involving Colombia). 
  • Construction dispute related to fuel loading facilities for electric power generation facility (chairman of three arbitrator AAA/ICDR panel in contract dispute related to a power plant project in the Dominican Republic). 
  • Dispute between prime and subcontractor on major defense contract (chairman of three arbitrator AAA panel to decide dispute under a large defense contract); case settled with assistance of panel chairman. 
  • Claim by noted prize fight promoter for breach of agent contract by world super lightweight champion from Mexico (chairman of three-arbitrator panel; case proceeded to full hearing and award). 
  • Claim by U.S. investor under political risk insurance policy arising from destruction of warehouses in Zaire (chairman of three arbitrator panel; bifurcated hearing completed as to liability only; award filed). 
  • Dispute between Florida-based electric utility and a coal transport company (sole arbitrator in determination of damages for termination of a 24-year coal-transloading contract). 
  • Dispute between major health equipment manufacturer and Canadian lessee (sole arbitrator in determination of contractual rights under an international equipment lease and related guarantees). 
  • Dispute between Middle Eastern bank (guarantor) and U.S. based training company (sole arbitrator in a dispute regarding contractual rights and bank guaranties arising from termination of contract for training by a U.S. company of the security forces of a Middle Eastern government. Represented equity research firm in obtaining injunctive relief in state court and NASD (now FINRA) proceedings against a group of former employees who had formed a competing firm.
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