Victory for Abengoa Special-Purpose Companies

October 30, 2015

The Court of Palermo has dismissed the claim for unjust enrichment filed by a group of Italian subcontractors of the consulting company One Consulting. The claim was against some special-purpose companies controlled by the Spanish multinational energy group Abengoa. The special-purpose companies had been set up for the construction of several photovoltaic plants in Sicily. Disregarding the conclusions of a detailed expert opinion, the Court of Palermo upheld the objection raised by the defendants, ruling that the claim for unjust enrichment filed by the subcontractors was inadmissible because it did not comply with the required residual nature of this claim. The subcontractors were also condemned to pay the litigation expenses.

The ruling by the Court of Palermo can be seen in the context of a broader dispute between Abengoa and One Consulting. It follows the ruling of June 23, 2014, in which the Court of Agrigento rejected the claims brought by One Consulting against Abengoa. The Court of Agrigento rejected the claims on the basis that the same dispute had been subjected to an international arbitration proceeding under the ICC rules, seated in Madrid. The international arbitration proceeding was concluded by an award in favor of Abengoa, which was recognized in Italy by the Court of Appeal of Palermo.

Cleary Gottlieb advised and represented the defendant companies. Cleary Gottlieb also defended Abengoa before the Court of Agrigento and in the context of the proceedings for the recognition of the arbitral award before the Court of Appeal of Palermo.