Where the parties to a private arbitration in the United Kingdom disagreed as to whether the arbitration panel is a “foreign or international tribunal” for purposes of obtaining testimony from residents in South Carolina pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1782, the Fourth Circuit determined that the panel was a “foreign tribunal” for purposes of the statute.
The district court denied the appellant’s application for the issuance of subpoenas to three South Carolina residents, relying on case law that held that private arbitral bodies were not “tribunals” as used in section 1782(a). The circuit court disagreed, reasoning that “even if we were to apply the more restrictive definition of ‘foreign or international tribunal’… – that the term refers only to ‘entities acting with the authority of the State’ – we would conclude that the UK arbitral panel charged with resolving the dispute between” the parties meets that definition.
The matter was remanded to the district court to conduct further proceedings on the appellant’s section 1782 application.
Servotronics, Inc. v. Boeing Co., No. 18-2454 (4th Cir. Mar. 30, 2020).