Almost nine months ago, on June 13, 2022, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a long awaited decision in ZF Automotive US, Inc. v. Luxshare, LTD. that sought to resolve a decades-old circuit split regarding whether 28 U.S.C. § 1782 – which permits litigants to obtain evidence in the U.S. “for use in a proceeding in a foreign or international tribunal” – applies to private, commercial international arbitrations. Practitioners were initially hopeful that the Supreme Court had conclusively resolved this issue when it unanimously held that only bodies “that exercise governmental authority” constitute a “foreign or international tribunal” under section 1782, which meant that parties engaged in private, commercial arbitrations and ad hoc arbitrations abroad could not use the statute to obtain discovery from companies and individuals in the U.S. However, in doing so, the Court left open the possibility that “sovereigns might imbue an ad hoc arbitration panel with official authority,” leaving courts (and litigants) to grapple with the question of whether and when a foreign body may be imbued with governmental authority sufficient to constitute a foreign or international tribunal for purposes of section 1782 discovery. Few courts have addressed this lingering question in the aftermath of ZF Automotive, and those that have have interpreted the decision very restrictively, indicating that the universe of international arbitrations that section 1782 now covers may be considerably narrower than it has been in the past.
Continue Reading Early Warning Signs: Courts Further Restrict Universe of International Arbitrations Covered by Section 1782 Discovery