Bel-Ray Co. v. Chemrite (Pty) Ltd.

United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit181 F.3d 435 (1999)

Facts

Bel-Ray Company (Bel-Ray) (plaintiff) entered into a series of contracts (the Agreements) with Chemrite Limited (Chemrite) (defendant) for the manufacture and distribution of Bel-Ray products in South Africa. After several years of working together under the Agreements, Lubritene Ltd. (Lubritene) acquired Chemrite and succeeded in interest to Chemrite’s contract rights. Bel-Ray was aware of Lubritene’s purchase of Chemrite and continued to do business with Lubritene under the Agreements. Bel-Ray later brought an action against Lubritene for, inter alia, breaches of the Agreements. On the basis of an arbitration clause contained in one of the Agreements, Bel-Ray sought to compel Lubritene to arbitrate Bel-Ray’s claims. Lubritene opposed enforcement of the mandatory arbitration clause, claiming the assignment was ineffective because a provision of the Agreements required that Bel-Ray accept in writing any assignment of the Agreements. The district court granted Bel-Ray’s request to compel arbitration. Lubritene appealed.

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