Dispute resolution in Venezuela

Baker & McKenzie, S.C.

Baker & McKenzie, S.C.'s dispute resolution team stands out for its expertise in arbitration, with particular strength in acting alongside the global firm's Paris and New York offices in international investment arbitration proceedings taking place in Venezuela. The team also handles both national and international commercial arbitration, complex litigation, spanning civil, commercial, environmental and public law disputes, and compliance investigations. The highly experienced Eugenio Hernández-Bretón leads the team alongside renowned investment arbitration specialist Maria Eugenia Salazar and Gabriel De Jesús, who is noted for his strength in commercial arbitration and litigation. Senior associate Hector Martinez and associate María Alejandra Ruiz are also key contacts.

Practice head(s):

Eugenio Hernández-Bretón; Gabriel De Jesús; María Eugenia Salazar

Testimonials

‘This office has the ability to respond promptly and completely to any of the client’s needs. They don’t see a problem as too small or too simple, letting me know that every request or question counts. In cases of conflict resolution, where there are so many variables involved, their negotiations have allowed me to find solutions to the issues.’

‘María Alejandra Ruíz is an excellent lawyer who takes the necessary time to understand the task that she has in front of her. She provides a complete and holistic analysis of the situation which goes beyond merely the legal issues, but takes a strategic approach. She understands that conflicts are not one-dimensional, and that any legal strategy to be implemented will have an impact on other aspects of the same controversial situation. This, in addition to her research, accurate advice and detailed reports, makes her an exceptional lawyer.’

‘Gabriel de Jesús stands out for his teamwork, reliable and analytical advice, and understanding of the client’s case, together with a flexible attitude towards fees worthy of a professional who is first of all a quality human being.’

‘Baker McKenzie’s arbitration team, led in our case by Maria Eugenia Salazar, has maintained its dynamism and efforts to seek solutions and innovate in our case.’

Key clients

Longreef (Café Fama de America)

Sucesión Heemsen

Agroinsumos

Ingersoll Rand Company

Procter & Gamble

Hyundai Motor Company

Astrazeneca

Colgate Palmolive

TCA Services

Telefónica Venezuela (Movistar)

Work highlights

  • Represented coffee roasting company Longreef (Fama de América) in its $80m investment arbitration before ICSID regarding its expropriation by the Venezuelan government, and representing the same client in proceedings relating to the annulment of the arbitral award in its favour.
  • Represented Sucesión Heemsen in its $60m investment arbitration against the Venezuelan government over the expropriation of 600 hectares owned by the family business, and representing the client in proceedings relating to the annulment of an arbitral award before the French courts, along with the firm’s Paris team.
  • Acting alongside Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer in Washington DC for Agroinsumos Ibero-Americanos in a long-running investment arbitration under ICSID rules regarding the expropriation of the Agroisleña Group by Venezuela in 2010.

Dentons

Dentons is highly active in domestic litigation, handling cases before courts of all levels, including the Venezuelan Supreme Court, and also represents clients in local and cross-border arbitration. One notable area of expertise is in investment arbitrations. Practice head Ramón Alvins handles commercial and civil litigation, insurance disputes, and arbitration proceedings in Venezuela and abroad. Of counsel Pedro Saghy, who is based in the firm's Paris office, is also a key contact for international arbitration proceedings in Colombia, Brazil, France and the UK.

Practice head(s):

Ramón Alvins

Key clients

LG Electronics Panama

Venezuela Heavy Industries

Davine Property

Modexel Consultores Servicios

Chevron Global Technology Services

Delta Airlines

Chemtrade/Impaq

Hidroponías Venezolanas

Dockyard

Work highlights

  • Representing Hidroponías Venezolanas in a claim for damages (loss of opportunity) against a banking institution in Venezuela.
  • Assisting Dockyard in a litigation claim involving arbitration in Florida against a debtor, and the subsequent execution of a settlement agreement with in-kind payment to Dockyard.
  • Representing LG Electronics Panama in a claim over the payment of invoices from a Venezuelan company named Comercializadora LWest.

Lega

Counting major multinationals among its clients, Leĝa Abogados handles a wide range of high-profile disputes. In particular, the team stands out for its expertise in white-collar crime cases and criminal investigations, and in domestic and international arbitrations. The sizeable team is headed by Carlos Domínguez , a specialist in commercial litigation, IP disputes, mediation and arbitration, and arbitration expert José Gregorio Torrealba , who focuses particularly on disputes between private parties and states or state-owned entities. José Alberto Ramírez  and Fernando Sanquirico  are also noted for arbitration, Mark Melilli-Silva  and Lisette García Gandica  are key contacts for civil and commercial litigation, and Hildamar Fernández  heads the white-collar crime team.

Practice head(s):

Carlos Domínguez; José Gregorio Torrealba

Key clients

Dell Acqua

HAF Construcciones

Rafay Ingenieros & Asociados

Iber Atlantis

Guy Carpenter & Company

Webuild (formerly Salini Impregilo)

Owen Illinois

Carroferta Media Group

Tula Café & Lounge

Makro Comercializadora

Lenovo (Venezuela)

Work highlights

  • Representing HAF Construcciones in a criminal investigation relating to contracts with Latin American organisations which import products and services.
  • Acting for Tula Café & Lounge in a constitutional amparo action against the client’s landlord following a dispute over rental payments.
  • Acting for Iber Atantlis in a criminal investigation involving five Venezuelan companies.

Araquereyna

Araquereyna has considerable expertise in both domestic and international arbitration, and has appeared in cases under ICC, ICSID, CIAC and other rules. In addition to commercial and investor state arbitration, the team handles high-value litigation, particularly in the construction sector. The firm also has a strong family law practice, headed by Rafael Aneas and Guido Mejía, which represents clients in divorce proceedings and other family conflicts. Marcos Carrillo is a key contact for construction-related disputes and has experience acting as an arbitrator. Luis Alfredo Araque is another leading figure in the team.

Practice head(s):

Marcos Carrillo; Luis Alfredo Araque; Rafael Aneas; Guido Mejia

Testimonials

‘Rafael Aneas and Guido Mejía are dedicated to handling and following up on the legal matters entrusted to them, providing the best advice in order to protect the interests of their clients.’

‘Serious, honest, effective.’

‘Lawyers who know their trade and are also sensible and reasonable people.’

Key clients

CA Centro Médico de Caracas

Centro Médico Docente La Trinidad

General Motors (General Motors Venezolana)

Grupo Merino

Empresas Polar

Telefónica de Venezuela

Otaola Ingeniería

Philip Morris Products

Industrias Alimenticias Hermo de Venezuela

Concept McCann Erickson

Estar Seguros

Work highlights

  • Representing Alimentos Polar Comercial, part of the Empresas Polar group, in litigation over the fulfilment of a contract to purchase thousands of tons of corn.
  • Defending Ypergas in an international commercial arbitration related to an alleged breach of contract for an oil and gas project.
  • Representing Ghella Sogene in a long-running case concerning a fatal accident at the construction site of the Caracas metro, where the client was the building contractor.

D'Empaire

D'Empaire is highly regarded for its experience in investor-state arbitration, with a particular focus on disputes over nationalisations and similar measures carried out by the Venezuelan government. The team is also experienced in civil and commercial litigation and national arbitration. José Humberto Frías, who specialises in international arbitration, especially under ICSID and ICC rules, and Pedro Perera, who focuses on commercial litigation and local arbitration, head the practice. Dubraska Galarraga handles civil and commercial litigation, and associates Daniel Bustos and Giancarlo Carrazza are noted for their experience in public law litigation and international arbitration, respectively.

Practice head(s):

José Humberto Frías; Pedro Perera

Testimonials

‘The D’Empaire team is one that is fully integrated, even with different areas of expertise. There is an admirable synergy in the way they work, communication is especially good between them and they do everything possible to collaborate with each other, which gives the client the benefit of a series of comprehensive solutions that cover issues outside the main area of consultation, preventing future problems in many cases and without a doubt providing more appropriate and better options. Similarly, this synergy greatly facilitates interdisciplinary work for the client: everyone is always aware of the client’s cases, which makes the service much more efficient.’

‘The lawyers of the firm are not only professionals and well known in their disciplines, but they are also characterised by their cordial and friendly treatment of clients. From the partners to the junior lawyers, they are always available, regardless of the time, to support the client. Speed, quality, professionalism and an excellent client service makes them stand out!’

‘José Humberto Frias has great knowledge and, above all, a lot of common sense when assisting in contentious matters. He is practical but at the same time technical, as well as being very efficient in providing assistance.’

‘Extraordinary analytical ability and a quality of service that is on par with top international firms in New York and London.’

‘Jose Humberto Frias is an outstanding lawyer, certainly one of the best in Venezuela. He has exceptional analytical skills and his drafting is extraordinary.’

Key clients

Smurfit Kappa

Liberty Mutual

Luis García Armas

Dick Abanto Ishivata

Fernando Fraiz Trapote

Serafín García Armas and Karina García Armas

MMC Automotriz

Visa International

Radio Caracas Televisión (RCTV)

Colegio Humboldt

Work highlights

  • Asssiting Smurfit Kappa with the ICSID arbitration over the nationalisation of its Venezuelan operation (Carton de Venezuela and subsidiaries).
  • Assisting Liberty Mutual with the two arbitration proceedings relating to its exit from Venezuela.
  • Assisting Dick Abanto Ishivata with the ICSID additional facility arbitration relating to the seizure of the claimant’s stake in a telecoms company holding several licences.

Mendoza, Palacios, Acedo, Borjas, Paez Pumar & Cia.

Mendoza, Palacios, Acedo, Borjas, Paez Pumar & Cia. has a wide-ranging practice spanning tax, civil and labour litigation, as well as criminal cases. The team has a strong track record of appearing before the Venezuelan Supreme Court, particularly in constitutional cases, and also handles arbitration. At the head of the practice, Carlos Eduardo Acedo focuses on civil and commercial litigation (in addition to regularly acting as an arbitrator), Esteban Palacios has specialist expertise in labour disputes, Rosemary Thomas is an expert in casación proceedings, and Alfonso Graterol frequently represents international clients before the Venezuelan courts. María Del Carmen López also stands out for real estate-related litigation.

Practice head(s):

Esteban Palacios; Carlos Eduardo Acedo; Rosemary Thomas; Alfonso Graterol

Key clients

MSD Farmacéutica (a subsidiary of Merck, Sharp and Dohme)

Corporación de Cemento Andino (a subsidiary of Grupo Argos)

Four Seasons Caracas (a subsidiary of Four Seasons Hotels)

Asea Brown Boveri (ABB)

Grupo Formiconi

DHL Global Forwarding (a subsidiary of DHL)

Mercantil Banco Universal

SA Venezolana Doméstica de Gas (Domegas)

Coca-Cola Servicios de Venezuela (subsidiary of The Coca-Cola Company)

Real Seguros (formerly Zurich Seguros)

Work highlights

  • Acting for Corporación Grupo Químico, CA Venezolana de Pinturas, Química Industrial and other subsidiaries of the Colombian industrial conglomerate Grupo Orbis in an appeal before the local tax court in Valencia against a decision by the Venezuelan tax authority claiming differences in income tax for the years 2014-2016.
  • Representing DHL Global Forwarding before the Supreme Court in a dispute over a fire which broke out in premises leased by the client, for which the landlord is seeking damages.
  • Acting for Four Seasons Caracas in an executive procedure lawsuit against Consorcio Barr for the payment of a loan with interest.

Torres, Plaz & Araujo

Torres, Plaz & Araujo handles civil and commercial litigation, including disputes in the banking, insurance and aviation sectors, and also represents clients in domestic arbitration and white-collar crime cases. Managing partner Jesús Escudero leads the practice, with a particular emphasis on insurance disputes in the aeronautical and maritime sectors. Andrea Cruz Suárez is also a key contact for litigation and arbitration, including cross-border cases.

Practice head(s):

Jesús Escudero

Key clients

Banco Occidental de Descuento, Banco Universal

HFW

CA Ron Santa Teresa

Petrosaudi Oil Services (Venezuela)

CA De Seguros La Occidental (CASLO)

Alimentos Polar Comercial

Osorio Internacional

Work highlights

  • Acting for Banco Occidental de Descuento, Banco Universal in the recovery of credits.
  • Handling claims for HFW arising from reinsurance contracts signed by Venezuelan insurance companies and international reinsurers.
  • Acting for Petrosaudi Oil Services (Venezuela) in arbitration proceedings against Petróleos de Venezuela (PDVSA).

Altum Abogados, S.C.

Altum Abogados, S.C. stands out for its experience in international investment arbitration, with notable expertise in ICSID cases. The team also handles disputes and negotiations involving the Venezuelan government. Clients include local and multinational companies from a range of sectors, including agri-food, construction, real estate and finance. Alfonso Porras Machado, María Eugenia Reyes, who is particularly experienced in investment arbitration, and Álvaro Posada Sessarego lead the practice.

Practice head(s):

Alfonso Porras Machado; María Eugenia Reyes; Álvaro Posada Sessarego

Testimonials

‘What stands out is the personalised service from Alfonso Porras and Froila Pimentel.’

InterJuris Abogados

With a team based across offices in Caracas, Madrid and Miami, InterJuris Abogados is particularly experienced in international arbitration. The practice frequently handles breach of contract disputes, as well as banking, real estate, competition, bankruptcy and administrative cases, acting for major clients in sectors such as oil and gas, financial services and logistics. Luis Ortiz Álvarez and María Cecilia Rachadell, both of whom are based in Miami, are noted for their strength in cross-border disputes. Juan José Delgado is also a key contact.

Practice head(s):

Luis Ortiz-Alvarez; María Cecilia Rachadell

Testimonials

‘Well trained, dynamic and proactive. They provide services in different countries with equally well trained and competent teams.’

‘The team stands out for its professionalism, punctuality and courtesy.’

‘Quality and clarity.’

Key clients

Transban

Valle Verde

Geohidra Consultores

Sindoni Group

Work highlights

  • Defended Sindoni North America in an arbitration relating to the termination of an international distribution agreement.
  • Represented the Defisa Group and ILP International Logistics Providers in an international dispute with UTI and DSV, global suppliers of transport and logistics services, in dispute over UTI’s termination of ILP’s representation and agency relationship.
  • Acting for HES (Caribbean) International Holdings in proceedings relating to the purchase of the Silver Sun Complex in Santo Domingo.

Mezgravis & Asoc

Boutique firm Mezgravis & Asoc handles both domestic and international litigation and arbitration, including investment disputes. Practice head Andrés Mezgravis leads the team, representing clients before the courts and arbitration fora, as well as in negotiations and mediation. Militza Perez and senior associate Víctor Henríquez Díaz are also noted.

Ponte Andrade & Casanova

Ponte Andrade & Casanova  has a strong track record in banking and employment litigation, in addition to handling administrative, tax and public law disputes. In addition, the team is experienced in arbitration proceedings. Clients include well-known multinationals and domestic companies from the financial services, cosmetics, and food and beverage sectors, among others. Practice head Ignacio Ponte Brandt  has a broad practice that spans civil, employment, administrative and tax litigation.

Practice head(s):

Ignacio Ponte Brandt

Testimonials

‘The partners are willing to attend to matters personally and do not neglect them.’

‘Outstanding personal and professional qualities.’

‘The qualities that differentiate Ignacio Ponte are his objectivity, creativity and ability to identify the problem and find solutions.’

Key clients

Banesco Banco Universal

Banco Exterior, Banco Universal

Agribrands Purina Venezuela

Uraplast

Revlon Overseas Corporation

CA de Seguros American International

Coca-Cola FEMSA de Venezuela

Hospital de Clínicas Caracas

Servicios Panamericanos de Protección SERPAPRO (Brinks Group)

Documentos Mercantiles (DOMESA)

Inversiones Instrumental Atlas

Infocent

Travieso Evans Arria Rengel & Paz

Travieso Evans Arria Rengel & Paz has longstanding experience of representing the local subsidiaries of major multinationals from a range of sectors, including oil and gas, manufacturing, food and beverages and cosmetics, in litigation and arbitration. Pedro Rengel Nuñez and Javier Ruan, both of whom focus on litigation and commercial arbitration, lead the practice. Hernando Barboza Russian and Wesley Soto López are also key contacts in the firm's offices in Maracaibo and Valencia, respectively.

Practice head(s):

Pedro Rengel Núñez; Javier Ruan Soltero

Key clients

ExxonMobil

Crystallex

Vestey Group

Owens Illinois

Honeywell

Ford Motor de Venezuela

Citic International Contracting

Grupo Arquina/Galerias Avila Center

Del Monte Andina

Mondelez

Work highlights

  • Representing Ampolex (formerly Mobil de Venezuela) in a lawsuit brought by the owner of a gas service station leased and operated by the client for damages resulting from the alleged breach of the lease and operating agreement.
  • Representing Ford in a long-running case against Banco Exterior on the grounds of the bank’s default on the payment of the agreed interest on bank deposits of around $2m.
  • Representing Del Monte Andina in bankruptcy proceedings brought against the company by two foreign food supplier companies from Chile, seeking the collection of credits owed by the client.