Ex-Dell distributor in Lebanon ignored ban on suing US tech giant. Now four directors have been sentenced to prison in the UK

Trending 3 years ago

A group of Lebanese IT distributors person been handed situation sentences for contempt of tribunal aft moving afoul of Dell and breaching an anti-lawsuit order.

An anti-suit injunction stops personification from instituting overseas tribunal proceedings successful breach of an arbitration agreement.

The US megacorp secured a judgement from nan UK's High Court successful April committing 4 existent and erstwhile board of Systems Equipment Telecommunication Services SAL (SETS) to prison, having spent successful excess of £225,000 connected nan case.

Maher Chahlawi, Marwan Junior Chahlawi, Pierra Chalhoub, and Sarah Bibi were each sentenced successful their absence, arsenic nan court's afloat judgment, published past week, explains.

The 4 collapsed anti-lawsuit injunctions that Dell had antecedently secured against them. SETS was an authorised, non-exclusive Dell supplier betwixt 2004 and 2017 until nan statement was terminated. Dell claimed SETS collapsed nan contract; SETS said Dell wrongfully terminated nan statement and sued successful Lebanese courts.

Citing an "exclusive jurisdiction" clause successful nan contract, Dell revenge an anti-lawsuit lawsuit successful London's High Court. As Mr Justice Henshaw put it successful a erstwhile judgment, "SETS nevertheless continued to prosecute nan Lebanese proceedings, and so commenced a 2nd group of proceedings" against Dell successful mid-2018.

Dell deed back, securing an anti-lawsuit injunction from nan High Court which should person prevented SETS from suing it anyplace astatine each complete nan extremity of nan contract. The last tribunal bid banning SETS from suing Dell had a mates of sentences successful artifact capitals:

Meanwhile, SETS kept its Lebanese suit going, egging connected section courts to state nan High Court's anti-lawsuit bid invalid successful that country. Maher Chahlawi told nan High Court that Lebanese rule meant he had to writer Dell for terminating his company's contract, claiming he had "no choice" astir it.

SETS collapsed some interim and last anti-suit orders made against it by nan High Court connected 4 occasions, nan tribunal found, by ignoring it and keeping nan Lebanese suit going. Mr Justice Henshaw besides rejected Maher Chahlawi's ineligible arguments that he was someway forced to writer Dell, adding that they "had nary substance."

Although Bibi ceased to beryllium a head of SETS during nan ineligible proceedings, being replaced by Pierre Chalhoub, nan judge held that nary of SETS' board (some of whom were besides shareholders) had done thing to halt nan Lebanese case.

Maher and Marwan Junior Chahlawi were ordered to beryllium committed to situation for 18 months pinch Sarah Bibi and Pierre Chalhoub some receiving nine-month sentences. The judge made "non-binding" statements successful his judgement committing them each to situation that "the tribunal would beryllium apt to springiness favourable consideration" to halving everyone's sentences if nan Lebanese ineligible lawsuit was dropped.

None of nan 3 appeared, though they had astatine anterior hearings, pinch nan judge noting nan defendants had been offered nan opportunity to "participate successful this proceeding remotely by telephone".

There were immoderate procedural arguments astir whether nan penal notices had been correctly served connected SETS' directors, pinch Dell's rule patient Osborne Clarke telling nan tribunal it was "unable to find a backstage investigation patient consenting to effect specified service, those firms whom they approached having antecedently encountered beingness unit aliases apprehension and detention without complaint erstwhile attempting specified work successful different cases."

Big American tech firms make occasional usage of nan London courts to enforce their contracts, arsenic good arsenic pursuing UK distributors who upset them for 1 logic aliases another. In different cases, however, US firms get distinctly upset erstwhile British judges norm against them.

A Dell spokeswoman told The Register: "Dell welcomes this judgment. Dell will always, wherever necessary, return due steps to take sides its rights." ®