Orta, David M.

David M. Orta

Partner

  Biography

David Orta is the Head of the International Arbitration Practice in Washington, D.C. and Latin America for Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan LLP.  Chambers Global and Chambers Latin America report that clients call David Orta “a vastly experienced attorney who inspires real confidence, with a remarkable ability to see all the angles.”  They also report that Mr. Orta wins praise from clients for his "sound advice and excellent client service." 

David is a trial lawyer and arbitration advocate with many years of experience successfully representing clients all over the world in complex international arbitrations (including investor-state (treaty) arbitrations and complex, international commercial arbitrations) and complex, commercial transnational litigations.  David’s clients and cases have spanned most continents, including North America, Central America, South America, Europe, Asia, Africa and Australia.  David represents both governments and investors in international arbitration matters.  His experience spans many sectors, including energy, oil and gas, transportation, infrastructure, construction, power plant, telecommunications, mining, and post merger and acquisition disputes.

David has handled numerous investor-state arbitrations under bilateral and multilateral investment treaties administered under the auspices of the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID).  David also has represented clients in treaty and commercial ad hoc arbitrations administered under UNCITRAL Rules and international commercial arbitrations administered by the International Court of Arbitration of the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), the London Court of International Arbitration (LCIA) and the International Centre for Dispute Resolution (ICDR/AAA).  David also has handled many commercial, transnational litigations within and outside of the United States, including post-M&A and asset sale disputes, arbitral award enforcement proceedings and asset recovery litigation. 

David has received various accolades for his work, including being named on two separate occasions (once by the National Law Journal and once by Washingtonian Magazine) as one of the Top 40 Lawyers under 40 in Washington, DC, ranked routinely in Chambers Global, Chambers Latin America, ranked in Euromoney’s Expert’s Guide to the World’s Leading Commercial Arbitration Attorneys, selected by Global Arbitration Review as “among the world’s leading commercial arbitrators” and named to the Who’s Who Legal: Arbitration 2015; selected numerous times for inclusion in Super Lawyers—Washington, D.C. for international arbitration, named to the 2014 Lawyers of Color Hotlist, named one of the world’s leading practitioners in The International Who’s Who of Asset Recovery Lawyers 2012, elected as Member of The American Law Institute, included in Global Arbitration Review 100 (2010 Edition) "Names to Know," and named in  Lawdragon 500 "New Stars, New Worlds" in 2006.  He regularly lectures on topics of international arbitration and public and private international law all around the world and has published numerous articles on topics of interest within the international arbitration community.  

  Representative Clients

  • Spentex Industries Limited & Spentex Netherlands, B.V.
  • Offshore Exploration & Production LLC
  • Magnus Energy Group, Ltd.
  • Pala Investments
  • Churchill Mining Plc
  • Republic of Panama
  • Republic of El Salvador
  • Republic of Guatemala
  • PPL, Corporation
  • Wells Fargo Bank
  • Largest state-owned power company in El Salvador
  • State-owned Geothermal power company in El Salvador
  • Wyeth Pharmaceuticals
  • Confecciones Kamerino

  Notable Representations

  • Represent Churchill Mining Plc and Planet Mining Pty Ltd. in their multibillion dollar investment treaty claims against the Republic of Indonesia.
  • Lead Counsel for Spentex Netherlands B.V. in its its multimillion dollar investment treaty claims against the Republic of Uzbekistan.
  • Lead Counsel for a Houston-based energy company in a private international commercial arbitration and related U.S. litigation arising from the sale of a suite of companies and oil and gas assets in Latin America.
  • Represent Magnus Energy Group and related entities in its multimillion dollar investment treaty claims against the Republic of Indonesia.
  • Lead counsel for a US investor in claims against a European-based company and investment treaty claims against a Latin American country.
  • Lead counsel for Slovakian investors in a series of complex civil and criminal disputes arising out of a commercial investment made in a Caribbean island.
  • Lead trial counsel for the Republic of Guatemala in the first ever international ICSID arbitration filed under the auspices of CAFTA and the first ever ICSID arbitration filed against Guatemala.  The case was filed against Guatemala by U.S. railway management and development company -- Railroad Development Corporation (RDC) v. Republic of Guatemala (ICSID Case No. ARB/07/23).
  • Lead trial counsel for the Republic of Panama in the first ever international ICSID arbitration filed against it by several U.S.-based investors under the auspices of the Bilateral Investment Treaty between the U.S. and the Republic of Panamá involving a multi-million dollar claim arising from allegations that certain Panamanian tax credits were not honored.  Mr. Orta obtained a complete victory for his client and a multimillion dollar award of costs and fees—Nations Energy, Inc. y otros c. República de Panamá (ICSID Case No. ARB/06/19).
  • One of the lead trial counsel for the Republic of El Salvador in an international ICSID arbitration filed against it by a Spanish company and obtained a dismissal of this case on jurisdictional grounds based on the "in accordance with law" provisions of the applicable BIT and proof that the investment at issue was not made in accordance with the laws of El Salvador since the investment had been procured through fraud --  Inceysa Vallisoletana S.L. c. República de El Salvador (ICSID Case No. ARB/03/26).
  • Lead counsel for the Republic of Panamá in an international ICDR arbitration filed against the Republic by various US-based investors and involving a claim for tens of millions of dollars based on allegations that Panamanian tax credits were not honored by the government and obtained a dismissal of the claim in its entirety.
  • Lead trial counsel for a Central-American state-owned power company in an UNCITRAL ad hoc arbitration against a foreign investor.
  • Represented a major US electric utility company as one of its lead counsel in international arbitration issues against a Latin American state.
  • Lead counsel for Consorcio Pentamat a Venezuelan corporation, in its commercial dispute with Carrier Transicold, a division of Carrier Corporation, and was able to obtain a quick and favorable settlement of an unfair competition claim involving a former employee who left Consorcio Pentamat, began working for Carrier in violation of a non-compete agreement and began soliciting customers away from Consorcio Pentamat in violation of the non-solicitation provisions of his employment agreement.
  • Lead counsel for Electricidad de Caracas, a Venezuelan corporation, in a business dispute with a major US financial institution.
  • Lead counsel for Impsat Fiber Networks, an Argentinean corporation, in a commercial dispute with Nortel Networks and obtained an outright dismissal of the case in favor of Impsat.
  • Trial counsel for Wyeth in the nationwide diet drug ("phen-fen") litigation, including handling trials in Pennsylvania, Georgia and Florida.
  • Trial and national coordinating counsel for Wyeth in the defense of complex, pharmaceutical liability cases pending in both federal and state courts throughout the country, including all cases filed in Virginia, North Carolina, Delaware, Maryland and Arkansas.
  • Handled numerous cases for pharmaceutical clients alleging deceptive advertising and violation of consumer protection act statutes, including consumer fraud class actions.
  • Served as product liability counsel for Boston Scientific in its US$24.5 billion acquisition of Guidant Corporation.
  • Lead product liability counsel for Albemarle Corporation in a nationwide remediation program.
  • Lead trial counsel and obtained a jury verdict for client in a case involving consumer fraud allegations, including alleged material omissions and deceptive trade practices concerning a matchmaking service.
  • Lead counsel for and obtained a quick favorable settlement on behalf of Overlook Systems Technologies, Inc. in its dispute with a former employee involving unfair competition claims, including misappropriation of trade secrets and other proprietary information.
  • Lead counsel for Albemarle Corporation in its business dispute with a distributor and filed a preemptive suit and obtained a quick settlement of a variety of breach of contract and tort claims in which the parties were cross-claiming for millions in damages.
  • Trial counsel for a brokerage company in a commercial fraud case and obtained a jury verdict on behalf of the brokerage company.

  Practice Areas

  • Class Action Litigation
  • Construction Litigation
  • Domestic U.S. Arbitration
  • Energy Sector Disputes
  • Government Contracts Litigation
  • International Arbitration
  • Lender Liability & Other Banking Financial Institution Litigation
  • Litigation Representing Plaintiffs
  • Real Estate Litigation
  • Transnational Litigation
  • White Collar & Corporate Investigations
  • Public Strategy in High Profile Litigation

  Education

  • Stetson University College of Law
    (J.D., magna cum laude, salutatorian, 1994)

  • Tulane University
    (B.A., 1991)

  Admissions

The District of Columbia Bar; The State Bar of Florida; United States Courts of Appeals:Third Circuit, Fourth Circuit, Fifth Circuit; United States District Courts: District of Columbia, District of Maryland, Southern District of Florida, Eastern District of Arkansas, Western District of Arkansas; Court of Federal Claims

  Languages

  • Spanish

  Prior Associations

  • Arnold & Porter LLP:
    • Partner, 2002-2012
    • Associate, 1998-2001

  • Greenberg Traurig LLP:
    • Associate, 1996-1998

  • Florida Third District Court of Appeals:
    • Law Clerk for the Honorable David L. Levy, 1994-1996

  Awards

  • Named one of the world’s leading commercial arbitrators in Who’s Who Legal: Arbitration 2015
  • Named to the 2014 Lawyers of Color Hotlist
  • Selected for inclusion in Super Lawyers—Washington, D.C. Edition 2014
  • Chambers Latin America 2014 for International Arbitration: Latin America-wide
  • Chambers Global and Chambers Latin America 2013 for International Arbitration: Latin America-wide
  • Selected for inclusion in Super Lawyers—Washington, D.C. Edition 2013
  • Named one of the world’s leading practitioners in The International Who’s Who of Asset Recovery Lawyers 2012
  • Chambers Global 2012 for International Arbitration: Latin America-wide
  • Chambers Latin America: Latin America's Leading Lawyers for Business 2012 for International Arbitration
  • Elected as Member of The American Law Institute
  • Included in Global Arbitration Review 100 (2010 Edition) "Names to Know"
  • Selected as one of the Top 40 Lawyers Under 40 in Washington, D.C. by The National Law Journal—“40 Under 40: Washington’s Rising Stars” 2009
  • Lawdragon 500 "New Stars, New Worlds" 2006
  • Washingtonian's "Top 40 Lawyers Under 40" 2006
  • Hispanic Bar Association of the District of Columbia “Rising Star," recognized as one of the next generation of leaders in the Hispanic legal community
  • Received the Excellence in Legal Services Award from the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund

Publications and Lectures

  • Publications
    • David M. Orta, Tai-Heng Cheng, Julia Peck, “Getting the Deal Through (United States Chapter) – Investment Treaty Arbitration 2014." (published in November 2013), Law Business Research Ltd.  Reproduced with permission from Law Business Research Ltd. This article was first published in Getting the Deal Through: Investment Treaty Arbitration 2015, (published in November 2014; contributing editor: Stephen Jagusch and Epaminontas Triantafilou, Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan LLP). For further information please visit www.gettingthedealthrough.com.
    • David M. Orta and Giselle Fuentes. "What is the effect of International Arbitration Rules on the Availability of Assistance in the Production of Evidence Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1782?." World Arbitration & Mediation Review Volume 4, No. 3, 2011.
    • David M. Orta. "Defending Class Actions." Diversity & The Bar Magazine, p.60, November/December 2007.
    • David M. Orta. "The Crossroads Between Enforcement And Execution Of Arbitration Awards And Sovereign Immunity-A Primer For In-House Counsel." (PDF: 2.56 MB) International Chamber of Commerce Members' Handbook, UK Edition, Spring 2006.
    • David M. Orta. "The Class Action Threat to Sovereign Workouts." International Financial Law Review, 41 July 2003.
  • Presentations
    • David M. Orta. “Aspectos Prácticos del Proceso Arbitral” (Practical Aspects of the Arbitral Process). Seminar offered in Spanish by the Center on International Commercial Arbitration of the American University Washington College of Law. Washington, D.C., June 10-13, 2013.
    • David M. Orta. “La reestructuración de inversiones y el alcance de su protección bajo los TBIs”. Presentation given in Spanish at the “4tas Jornadas Internacionales de Arbitraje”. La Paz, Bolivia, June 6-7, 2013.
    • David M. Orta. Speaker at the VII Congreso Latinoamericano de Arbitraje, “Los Actores en el Arbitraje: Lo que deben y no deben hacer” held in Lima, Peru, April 24-26, 2013.
    • David M. Orta. Ninth Annual Seminar on International Commercial Arbitration: How to Handle a BIT Arbitration, Washington, D.C., 2012.
    • David M. Orta. V International Competition of Commercial Arbitration, Washington, D.C., 2012.
    • David M. Orta. Three-day International Arbitration Seminar for Government officials of various Peruvian agencies in Lima, Peru 2010.
    • David M. Orta. "Disclosure Obligations for Arbitrators in International Arbitrations." Fourth Investment Arbitration Conference in Lima, Peru 2010.
    • David M. Orta. "Seventh Session: Most Favorable Nation Treatment." Third Investment Arbitration Course in Lima, Peru 2009.
    • David M. Orta. Presenter at International Arbitration Conference held at ESEN University in San Salvador, El Salvador, 2009.
    • David M. Orta. "Second Peruvian International Arbitration Conference." Lima, Peru 2008.
    • David M. Orta, Randall Miller and John H. Hawthorne. "The Decision to Litigate." Arnold & Porter LLP Roundtable Breakfast Series, McLean, VA, November 6, 2008.
    • David M. Orta. Three-day International Arbitration Seminar for Government officials of various Guatemalan agencies in Guatemala City, Guatemala, December 2008.
    • David M. Orta. "Panelist Presentation: What Government Officials Need to Know about International Arbitration." Sovereign States in US and International Legal Proceedings seminar sponsored by Arnold & Porter LLP, October 5, 2007.
    • David M. Orta. "Panel Presentation: Arbitraje y Protección de Inversiones en el Derecho Internacional -- El Futuro de Arbitraje Internacional en la Región." Seminar organized by the Unversidad del Itsmo. 29 September 2007, Antigua, Guatemala.
    • David M. Orta. "Seminar Moderator: What is the future of the International Center for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID)?." or "¿Cuál es el futuro del Centro Internacional de Arreglo de Diferencias Relativas a Inversiones (CIADI)?" Seminar organized by the District of Columbia Hispanic Bar Association. September 11, 2007, Washington, DC.
    • David M. Orta. "Panel Presentation: Investment Treaty Arbitration in the 21st Century." 18th Annual Workshop of the Institute for Transnational Arbitration (ITA). June 2007, Dallas, Texas.
    • David M. Orta. "Panel Presentation: Dispute Resolution Mechanisms." "Investment and Trade in Latin America: The Chilean Model," Seminar organized by the American University Washington College of Law. April 24, 2007, Washington, DC.
    • David M. Orta. "Moderator: Arbitration in Latin America." Seminar sponsored by the American Arbitration Association (AAA) and the DC Bar. November 2005, Washington, DC.

Professional Activities

  • Professional Activity
    • Member, The International Bar Association
    • Member, American Bar Association
    • Member, International Law Section, American Bar Association
    • Member, International Law Section, District of Columbia Bar Association
    • Member, The American Society of International Law
    • Member, Swiss Arbitration Association
    • Member, Swedish Arbitration Association
    • Member, Defense Research Institute
    • Member, District of Columbia Hispanic Bar Association
    • Member, Hispanic National Bar Association
  • Community Activity
    • Member, Advisory Council, Archdiocesan Legal Network
    • Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF)
      • Member, National Board of Directors
      • Lead Counsel, MALDEF, Immigrants’ Rights Pro Bono Cases
  • Pro Bono Activity
    • Handle pro bono immigrants’ rights cases for Ayuda, Inc.
    • Lead Counsel, Tahirih Justice Center, Pro Bono Immigrants’ Rights Cases
    • Represent indigent clients, The District Of Columbia Bar Public Service Activities Corporation