As the U.S. Supreme Court currently considers the issue of whether a private international arbitration constitutes a “foreign or international tribunal” within the meaning of 28 U.S.C. § 1782(a), the lower courts continue to receive applications for discovery assistance in international arbitration matters.  Section 1782(a) authorizes U.S. district courts to provide assistance to foreign or

As we have discussed in previous posts, federal appeals courts in the United States are split over whether a private international arbitration constitutes a “foreign or international tribunal” within the meaning of 28 U.S.C. § 1782(a), which authorizes U.S. district courts to provide assistance to foreign or international tribunals by ordering discovery of persons in the district.  In a very recent case, the United States District Court for the District of Columbia recognized this split, and directed the parties to provide additional briefing before deciding this hotly disputed issue.

In In re Application of: Food Delivery Holding 12 S.A.R.L., 1:21-mc-00005, 2021 WL 860262 (Mar. 8, 2021), Food Delivery Holding 12 S.a.r.l. (“FDH”) filed an application under 28 U.S.C. §1782 for an order to issue a subpoena for the taking of deposition and production of documents for use in a matter before the Dubai International Finance Centre-London Court of International Arbitration (“DIFC-LCIA”).

The Court began its analysis by noting that deciding whether to grant discovery under Section 1782 involves a two-step inquiry:

First, the court must determine whether it can order the requested relief—that is, whether it has the authority to do so; second, it must decide whether it should order the requested relief—that is, whether exercising its discretion to do so would further the statute’s “twin aims of ‘providing efficient assistance to participants in international litigation and encouraging foreign countries by example to provide similar assistance in our courts.’”


Continue Reading Uncertainty Continues Over Whether Federal Courts Can Order Discovery in Aid of International Arbitrations

In our recent post, we have discussed the split in the federal appeals courts over whether a private international arbitration constitutes a “foreign or international tribunal” within the meaning of 28 U.S.C. § 1782(a), which authorizes U.S. district courts to provide assistance to foreign or international tribunals by ordering discovery of persons in the district.

On September 22, 2020, in Servotronics, Inc. v. Rolls-Royce PLC et al., No 19-1847, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit joined the Second and Fifth Circuits in holding that 28 USC § 1782(a) does not apply to private international arbitration.  As we have previously discussed, the Sixth and Fourth Circuits both recently ruled that section 1782 may be invoked to seek discovery in aid of private foreign or international commercial arbitrations. 
Continue Reading The Seventh Circuit Joins the Second and Fifth Circuits in Holding That 28 USC § 1782(a) Does Not Apply to Private International Arbitration

In these series of posts, we discuss the differences that have emerged in rulings by federal appeals courts in the United States Circuits on certain issues that may affect the ability of a party in an international arbitration to obtain evidence from non-parties to the arbitration.

Arbitrator’s Power To Order Pre-Hearing Document Production Or Testimony From Non-Parties

In Part I of our post on the Circuit Courts split over discovery matters in international arbitration, we have discussed the Courts’ different views on whether a private international arbitration constitutes a “foreign or international tribunal” within the meaning of section 1782. The federal Courts of Appeals do not agree on another discovery matter that relates to obtaining evidence from non-parties in arbitration—including international arbitration—with the seat in the United States.  There is a Circuit split on whether an arbitrator may compel pre-hearing document production or testimony from non-parties pursuant to Section 7 of the Federal Arbitration Act (“FAA”), which applies to any arbitration in the United States involving interstate or international commerce.

The Second Circuit, Third Circuit (which includes Delaware, New Jersey, Pennsylvania), and Ninth Circuit (which includes Arizona, Alaska, California, and Hawaii) have ruled that an arbitrator does not have power to compel pre-hearing discovery of documents and testimony pursuant to the FAA, and can compel such discovery only for an arbitration hearing.


Continue Reading U.S. Circuit Courts Split Over Issues Concerning the Ability To Obtain Evidence From Non-Parties In International Arbitration, Part II

In these series of posts, we discuss the differences that have emerged in rulings by federal appeals courts in the United States Circuits on certain issues that may affect the ability of a party in an international arbitration to obtain evidence from non-parties to the arbitration.

 Application Pursuant 28 U.S.C. §1782

 A federal statute, 28 U.S.C. § 1782, states that U.S. district court may provide assistance to foreign or international tribunals by ordering discovery of persons in the district.  The Circuit Courts, however, disagree whether a private international arbitration constitutes a “foreign or international tribunal” within the meaning of section 1782.

In In re Application of Hanwei Guo for an Order to Take Discovery for Use in a Foreign Proceeding Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1782, 965 F.3d 96 (2d Cir. July 8, 2020), the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit reaffirmed its previous holding that a party cannot invoke 28 U.S.C. § 1782 to obtain documentary and testimonial evidence to be used in a private international commercial arbitration proceeding.
Continue Reading U.S. Circuit Courts Split Over Issues Concerning the Ability To Obtain Evidence From Non-Parties In International Arbitration, Part I