This one is so god damn boring, I can’t even believe I’m writing about it. It’s an arbitration dispute at the heart of it. Outokumpu and Fives ST Corp. agreed to construct cold rolling mills in Alabama. In their agreement, they accepted the terms of going to arbitration, and any such arguments would be settled in Dusseldorf under German law.
Fives subcontracted GE Energy to do the work in Alabama, but they fucked it up, and the machines started to fail. So Outokumpu sued GE in Alabama, since they didn’t have a contract with GE (the contract was with Fives). Since they didn’t have the contract, they figured they weren’t obliged to settle in Dusseldorf.
But of course GE was like, “You do have a contract assholes. Not with us, but with Fives. And we are working for them at their behest. So whatever you agreed to with them, also applies with us. Now fuck off. We’ll see you in Germany.”
You’ll hear them discuss “equitable estoppel” which is kinda confusing. But basically, it means you can’t enter into an agreement with someone, and withhold information that would have made that person reconsider entering into the agreement. So basically Outokumpu is arguing that they didn’t agree to this bullshit. They thought they were dealing with Fives, and disputes would be handled with them in Germany. But they didn’t agree to anything with GE, and therefore aren’t bound to arbitrate with GE under the terms they signed on for with Fives.
GE argue that they are named as a contractor on the damn contract. Therefore, Outokumpu knew damn well what they signed up for.
SCOTUS, in a unanimous decision sided with GE. That Outokumpu does have to arbitrate with GE.
On a side note, outside of these two parties, literally no one else gives a fuck.
Read about the case or hear oral arguments here.