Kuwaiti Embassy Hit With $5.4M Claim From Health Care Co.
Law360, New York (March 21, 2017, 5:24 PM EDT) -- Health care services company DaVita Inc. sued the Embassy of the State of Kuwait in D.C. Federal Court on Monday, accusing it of wrongfully refusing to arbitrate claims that it has withheld more than $5.4 million in payments owed under contracts to provide dialysis services to Kuwaiti citizens in the U.S.DaVita Inc., a Delaware company that provides dialysis treatments and support services across the U.S. to patients living with chronic kidney disease, told the D.C. court in a petition on Monday that the Embassy hasn't paid what it owes under a series of contracts it entered into with the company beginning in 2013. Under those contracts, DaVita provided dialysis services to 12 different patients. But DaVita claims that the Embassy has an unpaid balance of more than $5.4 million, along with additional late fees and interest, and as a result, DaVita says it is entitled to submit the dispute to arbitration in Philadelphia before the American Health Lawyers Association Dispute Resolution Service. So far, though, the Embassy hasn't cooperated, according to the petition. "Prior to initiating this action, DaVita engaged in repeated efforts to communicate with the Embassy to resolve the disputed claims. The Embassy failed to address DaVita's inquiries and requests for payment," according to the petition. "DaVita was therefore forced to demand arbitration and to initiate this action."DaVita is asking the court to order the Embassy to arbitrate the dispute or to award the company at least $5.4 million, plus late fees and interest, and attorneys' fees and costs. Counsel for DaVita could not immediately be reached for comment on Tuesday. A request for comment sent to the Kuwaiti Embassy wasn't immediately returned. Kuwait has provided free universal health care to its citizens since 1950, and as such, it routinely arranges and pays for the health care services its citizens require while they are traveling in other countries, including the U.S., according to the petition. The Health Office of the Embassy acts as a de facto health benefits provider to Kuwaiti nationals while they are in the U.S., and it engages in activities similar to any other health insurance provider. That includes arranging and paying for medical services, DaVita says.DaVita says that it has provided dialysis services to Kuwaiti nationals in the U.S. since at least early 2004. In its arbitration demand and the instant petition, DaVita notes that the Embassy is not immune from jurisdiction because it has waived immunity and because the litigation is "is based upon a commercial activity carried on in the United States by the foreign state." Moreover, the litigation seeks "to enforce an agreement made by the foreign state with or for the benefit of a private party to submit to arbitration," DaVita says.DaVita is represented by Christina A. Clark and Robert Reeves Anderson of Arnold & Porter Kaye Scholer LLP, and Michael S. Winsten of Winsten Law Group. Counsel information for the Embassy wasn't immediately available on Tuesday. The case is Davita Inc. v. Embassy of the State of Kuwait, case number 1:17-cv-00505, in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.https://www.law360.com/articles/904377/kuwaiti-embassy-hit-with-5-4m-claim-from-health-care-co-