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.