ELEVENTH CIRCUIT AFFIRMS DISTRICT COURT’S DECISION THAT ARBITRAL PANEL WAS “FOREIGN” FOR PURPOSES OF DISCOVERY STATUTE
On an appeal arising out of a foreign shipping contract billing dispute between Consorcio Ecuatoriano de Telecomunicaciones S.A. and Jet Air Service Equador S.A., the Eleventh Circuit held that the arbitral tribunal before which the dispute is pending is a foreign tribunal for purposes of 28 U.S.C. 1782’s discovery rules. Consorcio had applied in the Southern District of Florida to obtain discovery for use in proceedings in Ecuador. These proceedings included both a pending arbitration brought by Jet Air as well as possible other litigation. The district court granted the application and authorized Consorcio to issue a subpoena. Jet Air moved to quash the subpoena and vacate the order granting the application. Jet Air appealed the denial of its motions. The Eleventh Circuit affirmed, concluding that the arbitral panel acts as a first-instance decision maker and permits the gathering and submission of evidence. It resolves the dispute and issues a binding order which is subject to judicial review. , No. 11-12897 (11th Cir. June 25, 2012).