Monday, March 26, 2007

Federal-court discovery and international tribunals

An interesting case from the 11th Circuit in an area I don't encounter often.  After the defendant failed to satisfy a judgment secured by  NoName corporation in a Panamanian court, NoName filed a post-judgment petition in the judgment-rendering Panamanian court.  Following Panamanian procedures, NoName sought post-judgment discovery and suggested that, since the defendant resided in Florida, the court obtain the evidence through a letter rogatory.   The court issued a letter rogatory to the Judicial Authorities for the City of Miami.  The United States then filed an ex parte application in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. s 1782, for an order appointing an Asst. U.S. Attorney as a commissioner for the purpose of obtaining the evidence requested by the Panamanian Court.  The issue was whether and when a federal district court can assist in the production of evidence for use in a foreign court, and specifically whether a district court can do so when the judgment has not been domesticated.  Ultimately, the 11th Circuit affirmed the district court's decision to grant the application for judicial assistance to foreign tribunals under s1782. --RR

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