Thomas Bevilacqua

Partner - Paris

Tom Bevilacqua
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+33(0)170366133

+33(0)170366131

tbevilacqua@foleyhoag.com Download vCard

Thomas Bevilacqua, a partner in Foley Hoag’s Paris office, concentrates his practice on international arbitration and litigation matters.

Thomas’s practice consists principally of counseling clients throughout all phases of international commercial and investment arbitration matters. He has acted as counsel in more than fifty international arbitrations, including around a dozen investor-State disputes under the ICSID and UNCITRAL rules. He regularly advises clients in commercial and construction disputes under the leading sets of commercial arbitration rules, most frequently, though not exclusively, in matters administered by the ICC.

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Education:

  • Université Paris I-Panthéon-Sorbonne, LL.M., mention bien, 2001
  • Albany Law School, J.D., magna cum laude, 1995
  • State University of New York at Albany, B.A., summa cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa Society, 1991

Languages:

French, English

Representative Experience

International Commercial Arbitration and Construction Arbitration

Thomas has served as counsel in dozens of commercial arbitrations. His clients have been actors in a wide array of industries covering, among others, the following sectors: offshore engineering and construction, energy, waste valorization, pharmaceuticals, cultural and educational products, electricity generation and transmission, industrial distribution, infrastructure development, and software and other new technologies. These matters have been governed by a host of substantive laws, including the laws of different common law and civil law systems. He is also well acquainted with the arbitration laws of many of the most commonly-designated seats of arbitration.

Arbitrations Relating to Construction Projects

  • Thomas advised a French offshore construction firm in a London-seated ICC arbitration involving alleged construction and design defects under a consortium agreement for the engineering, procurement, construction and installation of four drilling and gas gathering platforms and related pipelines for an oilfield in offshore Nigeria. The case was settled through mediation on the eve of the arbitration hearing.
  • He represented a Nigerian insurance company in a dispute with a Belgian engineering and construction firm in a Paris-based, English-French language ICC arbitration relating to alleged construction defects under a FIDIC-inspired hotel construction contract in East Africa.
  • He was part of a team representing a European petroleum consortium in a French-law governed ICC insurance dispute over whether coverage applied under a tailor-made PLI policy to a design change to the thermal insulation for petroleum conduits installed 1,200 meters below sea level to transport brute petroleum from deep sea wells to FPSO vessels in offshore Angola.  The award found coverage applicable and awarded all amounts sought by the insured claimant.  
  • Thomas represented a Chadian subsidiary of a major U.S. petroleum concern in a bilingual French-English ICC arbitration in Paris governed by French law against a Chadian public works company, relating to a project for the excavation and screening of massive quantities of earth to produce gravel for the production of cement for use in the construction of onshore oil infrastructure in Chad.
  • Thomas represented an offshore construction firm in an ICDR arbitration in Houston under New York law relating to the installation of offshore piles designed to serve as foundations to anchor various offshore oil production facilities. The dispute related to delayed access by several construction vessels to a single construction site over a series of overlapping dates, resulting in the costly and needless immobilization of several vessels.
  • Thomas advised a petroleum sector engineering firm in an arbitration initiated by the purchaser of the client’s onshore engineering subsidiary for breach of certain representations and warranties in the corresponding share purchase agreement. The arbitration was commenced after an explosion in a petrol cracking unit at a refinery where the purchased subsidiary had been performing upgrades. The claimant alleged that important information had been withheld about the subsidiary’s safety record during the negotiations leading to the sale. The ICC tribunal in this bilingual French/English proceeding found in the client’s favor on all claims under French law and awarded costs.

Other Commercial Arbitrations

  • He advised the German owner of a chemical manufacturing facility in rural France against an earlier site owner, a French pharmaceutical concern, in asserting a claim under representation and warranty clauses found in a share purchase agreement. The claim was prompted by certain clean-up obligations imposed on the new site owner by the French regulatory authorities. Following a partial ICC award on the principle of liability and an expert phase in which the experts’ findings were very largely favorable to the client, a settlement was negotiated.
  • He acted as counsel in an ICC arbitration relating to the consequences of the sudden breaking off by an international equipment manufacturer in the oil services industry of a long-term distribution agreement in North Africa, including liability for outstanding commissions and other payments.
  • He advised a European district heating company in an ICC arbitration brought against a German regional utility company to assert a claim under French tort law arising from the abrupt breaking off by that company of advanced negotiations for the acquisition of the former. Following a lengthy discovery dispute that culminated in an order by the tribunal to produce damaging internal documents revealing the utility company’s decision-making process in breaking off the negotiations, the parties rapidly reached a favorable settlement.
  • Thomas represented an English auto parts manufacturer in a claim governed by French law under a price revision clause contained in a share purchase agreement and relating to the purchase from a French parts manufacturer of certain assets located in Brazil. The final ICC award granted claimant all relief requested.
  • He acted in a French-language ICC arbitration relating to the discontinuation of an agreement governed by French law and of a series of related, country-specific agreements governing the setting up and management of collection networks for electrical and electronic waste in half a dozen western European countries. Following extensive briefing on jurisdiction, the claimant dropped its claims and paid our client’s arbitration fees.
  • He represented a West African subsidiary of an international petroleum sector operator in a Paris-based, French language ICC arbitration against a West African State in which it conducts production activities. The arbitral claims were premised on the non-renewal by the State authorities of the operator's permit and the requisitioning of its facilities and personnel. 
  • He represented the same petroleum firm in a separate ICC arbitration in London under governing English law against another international oil and gas firm relating to amounts owed for petroleum deliveries received by that second firm in the West African State.
  • Thomas advised a subsidiary of an incumbent French public utility in a large debt collection matter against a new entrant in the Western European electricity market relating to fees owed by the latter for the purchase of transmission capacity for the delivery of energy across the French border for resale in the buyer’s country. The ICC case gave rise to interesting and complex questions relating to arbitral jurisdiction under Swiss arbitration law, including in particular the question of the validity of arbitration clauses “by reference.” A positive award on jurisdiction opened the path to a favorable settlement on the merits.
  • Thomas was part of a team that represented a Scandinavian developer and distributor of diagnosis kits for the assessment of heart disease risk in an ICC arbitration initiated by it against an American manufacturer of said kits, to seek damages for breach of the parties’ license and development agreement calling for the distribution of those kits across Europe.
  • He represented a Lebanese firm in an ICC claim for commissions owed for consulting services provided under a Swiss law-governed contract in connection with a Beirut public works project in the electricity transmission sector. The representation resulted in a favorable settlement for the client.
  • He represented a leading actor in the field of recovery and recycling of electronic and electrical waste under the applicable European Union law regime in an ICC dispute with a German logistics firm with which it had contracted for the performance of certain regulatory duties. The conflict related to alleged performance shortcomings by the logistics firm, which was responsible under the contract for applying the regime in Germany, Austria and Italy. A favorable settlement was achieved shortly before the hearing.
  • Thomas represented a North American car parts supplier in an ICC claim against an Eastern European car manufacturer relating to unpaid invoices for numerous deliveries of parts under various supply contracts. Following initiation of the arbitration, the parties entered into a settlement agreement under which the respondent agreed to pay the entirety of its debt.
  • Thomas represented a manufacturer of industrial building materials in defending against a claim for liability raised by a successor to one of its European manufacturing sites and premised on representation and warranty clauses included in a share purchase agreement for the sale of the site and on the sufficiency of pre-transfer due diligence. Underlying this ICC arbitration claim were numerous court actions brought against the claimant by former employees who alleged that they had been exposed to asbestos in the manufacturing process.
  • He represented a leading agricultural producer based in Madagascar against a North American broker of spices and flavor extracts in an arbitration under the rules of the Chambre arbitrale de Paris for breach of a joint venture agreement governed by French law for the growing, harvesting, processing, packaging and exporting of vanilla beans.
  • Thomas represented a major European electronics and defense firm in an ICDR arbitration against an American defense contractor relating to performance issues under a joint venture agreement calling for the design and development of sonar equipment for mapping of the ocean bed.
  • He represented a French systems integrator in an UNCITRAL arbitration against a claim raised by a Russian bank for breach of contract relating to the design and implementation of an operating system for a retail banking network. The case gave rise to interesting questions of law under the Vienna Sales Convention and resulted in an award favorable to the client.
  • He represented a French firm in the waste valorization sector in a French language arbitration before the Chambre de mediation et d’arbitrage de Paris (CMAP) against one of its local service providers in relation to a claim under French law for the abusive breaking off of established commercial relations.
  • He was part of a team that represented a State enterprise of a mineral-rich African nation in an LCIA arbitration initiated by an English/South African entity seeking repayment of a loan intended for the development of fluvial diamond mining activities. The State entity's defense was premised on notions of impossibility and frustration of purpose under English law due to an intervening civil war. Following the merits hearing, the case was settled, along with a companion ICC arbitration, on favorable terms.
  • He represented an emerging American telecommunications provider in an LCIA arbitration against an African incumbent national telecommunications public utility in relation to allegations of breach of a joint venture agreement to launch a low-cost international calling platform from the Indian Ocean region.
  • Thomas represented a French lodging chain in an ad hoc arbitration involving a dispute governed by the law of Ghana law relating to the non-payment by a hotel operator of sums due to the chain under a management contract for a leading business hotel.
  • He represented a North American-based designer and manufacturer of flight simulators against a European manufacturer of short- and mid-range turboprop aircraft in an arbitral dispute under the auspices of the Canadian Commercial Arbitration Center in Montreal relating to the flight simulation software designed for a new line of aircraft.

Commercial Arbitrations with Recognition and Enforcement/Set Aside Components

  • He represented a German aircraft lessor seeking to enforce a successful ICC arbitration award rendered in Paris and arising from a failed transaction with a Mexican airline for the sale of Boeing aircraft and the ultimate seizure and repossession of the aircraft. Thomas helped to defend successfully against a petition to set aside the award at the Paris seat of arbitration and assisted with recognition and enforcement matters in Texas and California.
  • He advised a large European and American biotechnology corporation in connection with the identification of grounds to file a petition before the French courts to set aside an ICC arbitration award issued in France in a dispute over royalties alleged to be due under a licensing agreement for a patented molecule.
  • Thomas is part of a team representing the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela in set aside proceedings before the Paris Court of Appeal and in confirmation and enforcement proceedings before the United States Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit relating to an ICSID Additional Facility award in the mining sector rendered in Paris under the Venezuela-Canada Bilateral Investment Treaty.  Additional enforcement actions are pending in Luxembourg and London.
  • He advised a client in obtaining the recognition and enforcement in France of a AAA award rendered in Florida in a dispute arising in the yacht-building sector, and subsequently defending against an appeal before the Paris Court of Appeals of the Paris trial court’s order allowing recognition and enforcement of the foreign award. 
  • He served as counsel in an ICC arbitration concerning the breach of a distribution agreement applicable to the Spanish market for a popular online research tool with worldwide notoriety and later assisted with enforcement activities for the successful award under Spanish and French arbitration law.
  • Thomas represented a leading American oil company in a dispute with a commercial real estate developer over a right of first refusal over a prime piece of real estate in Dallas, Texas. After a AAA award was issued in the client’s favor, the representation continued upon the losing party’s motion to vacate the award through all levels of the U.S. federal courts, up to and including its unsuccessful petition for certiorari to the U.S. Supreme Court. The case raised the unsettled issue under the U.S. Federal Arbitration Act of whether substantive review of an award is available under a “manifest disregard of the law” standard. 
  • In relation to the above-mentioned ICC dispute concerning coverage under a tailor-made PLI policy for offshore Angola oil conduits, Thomas participated in ensuing recognition and enforcement measures in the United States (Illinois), Germany and France, including defending against a petition to set aside before the Paris Court of Appeal.

Investor-State Arbitration

  • Nova Scotia Power Inc. v. Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela. Thomas was a member of the team that obtained a victory at the jurisdictional stage for Venezuela in this ICSID Additional Facility proceeding. A Canadian company brought the claim, arising from a coal supply contract, after it had had its claim dismissed on jurisdictional grounds in an earlier proceeding under the UNCITRAL Rules. The Additional Facility tribunal found that it did not have jurisdiction over the dispute since the claimant had not made an investment in Venezuela, as the coal supply contract amounted to an ordinary commercial transaction.
  • City State N.V., Praktyka Asset Management Company LLC, Crystal-Invest LLC and Prodiz LLC v. Ukraine. Thomas is part of a team representing Ukraine in this ICSID arbitration arising from the failure of a commercial bank in Ukraine and filed by four entities that claim Dutch nationality, relying on the Ukraine-Netherlands BIT.
  • Murphy Exploration and Production Company v. Republic of Ecuador. Thomas was one of the primary drafters of the memorials leading to the dismissal, in favor of the Republic of Ecuador, of this ICSID BIT arbitration on jurisdictional grounds. The claimant sought to challenge Ecuador’s application of a law establishing a government participation in unexpected and non-negotiated revenues resulting from unforeseeable rises in the price of oil. Thomas is also part of the team advising Ecuador following the re-filing of the claim as an UNCITRAL arbitration. 
  • Chevron Corporation and Texaco Petroleum Company v. Republic of Ecuador. Thomas was part of a team that defended Ecuador in a case brought by a United States oil and gas company before the Permanent Court of Arbitration based on the U.S.-Ecuador BIT.
  • Louis Dreyfus Armateurs SAS v. India. Thomas is part of a team representing India in an arbitration under the France-India BIT arising from a contract concerning the supply and operation of cargo handling equipment.
  • Repsol YPF Ecuador S.A. et al. v. The Republic of Ecuador and PetroEcuador. Thomas assisted the Republic of Ecuador and PetroEcuador in this ICSID BIT arbitration initiated by a consortium of international oil companies premised on the Republic's imposition of a windfall-profits levy on certain oil operations in Ecuador.

Questions Relating to Private International Law, Transnational Litigation

Thomas also has significant experience on recurring questions in the fields of private international law and transnational litigation, such as those relating to:

  • the Hague Evidence Convention and “blocking statutes,” as applied in particular in France and the United States; 
  • the Hague Service Convention, as applied in France and the United States;
  • discovery obtained in the United States under 28 U.S.C. § 1782 for purposes of foreign proceedings (including working on one of the first U.S. appellate decisions to consider the applicability of this provision to international arbitration);
  • the implementation of choice of law clauses and forum selection clauses, as well as the determination of the appropriate laws and fora in the absence of such choices; and
  • the U.N. Convention on Contracts for the International Sale of Goods (“Vienna Sales Convention” or CISG).

Professional Experience

  • Previously worked as a partner in the International Arbitration Practice Group at Winston & Strawn (Paris office) and as an associate in the International Arbitration Practice Group at Salans (Paris office) and the Commercial Litigation Practice Group at Akin, Gump, Strauss, Hauer & Feld (Houston office).
  • “Maître d’enseignement” at the l’École de formation professionnelle des Barreaux (Paris), courses on the subject of the “arbitration clause” (2012-2013)
  • Professeur invité at the Université Paris Ouest Nanterre La Défense, M2 Juriste Européen, Unité “Droit Anglo-américain des affaires” (2010-2012)
  • Served as a law clerk to the Hon. Earl S. Hines of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas.
  • Getting the Deal Through – Arbitration, Chapter on French arbitration law, 2015 and 2016 editions, co-author
  • Practical Law Company's Cross-Border Arbitration Handbook, Chapter on French arbitration law, updated annually 2010-2014 editions, co-author
  • “Reinvigorated Debate: The Hague Evidence Convention,” IFLR Global Dispute Resolution Guide 2010
  • “Ensuring Party Equality in the Process of Designating Arbitrators in Multiparty Arbitration: An Update on the Governing Provisions,” 27(1) Journal of Int’l Arbitration 9-49 (2010), co-author
  • “Voluntary Intervention and Other Participation of Third Parties in Ongoing International Arbitrations: A Survey of the Current State of Play,” 1(4) World Arb. & Mediation Rev. 507-537 (2007)
  • “L’Article 3 de la Convention de Vienne et les contrats complexes dans le domaine de l’informatique: Une lecture de la jurisprudence pertinente,” 50(3) McGill Law Journal 553-593 (2005), republished on www.cisg.law.pace.edu

Honors

  • Best Lawyers, "Best Lawyers in France - International Arbitration" (2013-2016)
  • Speaker at the ICC Advanced PIDA International Commercial Arbitration Training seminar on the themes of “The Claimant’s Strategy for the Request for Arbitration” and “Cross-Examination” (Paris, October 2015)
  • Speaker at an in-firm continuing legal education seminar on the differences in arbitral procedure between domestic and international arbitration (Boston, August 2015)
  • Speaker at the Franco-Dominican Conference on “The Enforcement in France of Arbitral Awards Rendered Abroad” (in French) (Santo Domingo, October 2014)
  • Speaker at the Kiev Arbitration Days on the subject of “Public Policy and Arbitration in France” (November 2013)
  • Speaker at a Kiev, Ukraine investor-State arbitration seminar organized by the Ministry of Justice on "The Reach of Protection Afforded Under BIT Umbrella Clauses" (September 2012) 
  • Speaker at firm and client training sessions on "International Commercial Arbitration: Fundamentals of the Arbitration Process and Effective Arbitration Clauses" (Boston, February and June 2013)
  • Speaker on “Key Legal Concepts: The Arbitration Clause” and “Drafting an Arbitration Clause” at the International Law Institute, ADR Center, Arbitration & Mediation Seminar, (Washington, D.C., April 2010)
  • Presentation on “International Commercial Arbitration: Some Procedural Basics” (Washington, D.C., New York City, and Chicago, July 2009)
  • Speaker on “Practical Guidance for Application of the 1970 Hague Evidence Convention” (in French) for the Paris Bar (July 2008)
  • Speaker on “Advice on Drafting Legal Memoranda and Analyzing Caselaw in English: Achieving Awareness of the Stylistic and Terminological Peculiarities of English-Language Legal Writing” for the Paris Bar (October 2007)
  • Speaker on “The Scope of Application of the Vienna Sales Convention” (in French) for Paris Bar (July and December 2006)
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