One of the first arguments in the U.S. Supreme Court’s October 2021 Term will be in Servotronics v. Rolls-Royce PLC, No. 20-794, which asks the court to resolve a circuit split over the role, if any, that federal courts should play in facilitating discovery in foreign arbitrations. In what looks like a simple matter of statutory interpretation—defining the term “tribunal”—the case may shed new light on how the current court approaches traditional interpretive tools.
Servotronics arises out of a dispute over an engine fire that occurred in a Boeing 787 aircraft. Servotronics manufactured a valve used by Rolls-Royce to manufacture the engine. After settling claims from Boeing, Rolls-Royce sought arbitration in England over its claim for indemnification from Servotronics. Servotronics then sought discovery in the Northern District of Illinois from Boeing under 28 U.S.C. §1782(a), which provides that a U.S. district court “may order a person residing or found in the district to give testimony or produce documents for use in a proceeding in a foreign or international tribunal … upon the application of any interested person.”