King & Spalding secured a major victory for its client, Halliburton Company, in the Delaware courts when a judge denied an application from a gas storage facilities operator to seek documents from Halliburton for an arbitration in Germany concerning allegedly defective safety valves.
U.S. District Judge Richard G. Andrews vacated his earlier ex parte order granting EWE Gasspeicher GmbH’s application, stating that the German arbitration didn't qualify as a "tribunal" under Section 1782 of the U.S. Code, which allows litigants to pursue evidence for use in proceedings before "a foreign or international tribunal." He said revisions made to Section 1782 in 1964 made it clear that Congress only intended for the statute to be used "in connection with administrative and quasi-judicial proceedings abroad."
This victory is particularly significant given the conflicting rulings on whether Section 1782 can be used for foreign private commercial arbitrations. The Second and Fifth circuits, for example, ruled in 2019 that Section 1782 could be used for foreign private arbitration, whereas the Sixth circuit has ruled it cannot.