The U.S. Supreme Court Rules Section 1782 Does Not Apply to Private Arbitrations

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled on June 13, 2022, that Section 1782 discovery does not apply to private arbitration bodies. The Court’s unanimous decision held that “[t]he statute reaches only governmental or intergovernmental adjudicative bodies.” ZF Automotive US, Inc. v. Luxshare.

Section 1782 is a powerful statutory tool for overseas litigants — or intended litigants — to seek discovery in the United States for use in the foreign proceeding. Until today’s decision, there had been a significant split between the appeals courts, with some concluding that Section 1782 does apply to private arbitration, and some holding the opposite. Today’s decision resolves this split and creates a single rule that is applicable across the United States.

The court followed one of the arguments presented in the amicus brief that Katie Burghardt Kramer and RongPing Wu submitted for DGW Kramer LLP on behalf of Chinese arbitrators. We argued that private arbitrators cannot offer comity to the U.S. courts, and that therefore Section 1782 should not apply to private arbitrations. SCOTUS adopted this argument, stating that “the animating purpose of Section 1782 is comity . . [but it] is difficult to see how enlisting district courts to help private bodies would serve that end.”