Most practitioners in the area of international law know about 28 U.S.C. Section 1782. This statute has long allowed litigants in foreign tribunals to use U.S. courts to compel persons “residing or found” in the court’s territory to provide discovery. Because foreign tribunals typically permit less discovery than U.S. courts, Section 1782 is an important tool for foreign litigants in gathering evidence.

U.S. courts have been split on whether Section 1782 can be used to compel discovery of documents located outside of the United States. In 2004, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit (based in Chicago) found that Section 1782 cannot be used to obtain foreign documents. But in 2016, the Eleventh Circuit (based in Atlanta) disagreed. Litigants based South Florida have grown accustomed over the past few years to an extra-territorial Section 1782.

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