Discovery on U.S. Companies, Based on Foreign Lawsuits

Parties in lawsuits outside the United States may seek discovery from companies located inside the United States in a variety of ways. Kronenberger Rosenfeld helps foreign litigants to obtain discovery from companies across the country using so-called “1782 petitions” and California state law procedures. Our law firm has served hundreds of subpoenas for litigants located throughout the world, and we would be happy to bring that experience to bear for you.

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Kronenberger Rosenfeld regularly serves discovery in California based on lawsuits pending in foreign courts.

Silicon Valley is the hub of the world’s technology industry, as well as home to Google, Facebook, Yahoo!, Twitter, and many other internet and social media companies. So naturally in litigation filed internationally, parties often seek information, documents and data from Silicon Valley companies for use in their international litigation.

For international litigation, foreign litigants may use a federal discovery statute, 28 U.S.C. § 1782, to gain access to information located in the United States.  The statute is labeled, “Assistance to Foreign and International Tribunals and to Litigants before such Tribunals.”  That statute allows a party involved in a foreign proceeding to petition a federal court for a subpoena for information or the testimony of witnesses located in the court’s district. As the federal court covering the Bay Area, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California sees a constant stream of requests for subpoenas to web hosting services, web-based email services, and social networking services.

The statute provides some protection for evidence that is privileged, and also allows the federal court to implement procedures and protections that would be applicable in the courts of the jurisdiction where the proceeding is pending. However, in practice, those discretionary protections are not usually applied by the local courts. Instead, foreign litigants are typically granted a wide degree of latitude in seeking and obtaining information hosted locally, notwithstanding the fact that the laws and procedures of their own courts would not have allowed access to the information.

Whether you’re looking to use 28 U.S.C. § 1782 to get documents for a foreign case, or you’re trying to keep your own information out of the hands of an overseas litigant, it is essential that you retain counsel familiar with the tools available under U.S. and foreign law to protect your interests. As leaders in the internet and technology-related litigation arena, Kronenberger Rosenfeld, LLP is uniquely prepared to provide you with the best possible representation in this arena. The firm has handled these international discovery issues under 28 U.S.C. § 1782 in the past, at both the trial court and appellate level, and we’d be happy to bring that experience to bear for you.

For more information about how Kronenberger Rosenfeld can assist you with 28 U.S.C. § 1782 or other international discovery matters, call us at 415-955-1155, ext. 120, or you can submit your case through our online case submission form

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