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.’”