By Bryanna Rainwater
The U.S. Supreme Court has dismissed the first arbitration case it had accepted for this fall’s term.
Servotronics Inc. v. Rolls-Royce PLC, et al., Docket No. 20-794, has been officially removed from the Supreme Court’s docket as of today, with the Oct. 5 opening week oral argument wiped off the schedule. You can see the Court’s order in the docket here.
The dismissal follows the completion of arbitration in London this summer. The U.S. Solicitor General’s office had requested and been granted permission to participate in the oral arguments.
The issue that was awaiting the Supreme Court was whether the discretion granted to district courts in 28 U.S.C. §1782(a) to render assistance in gathering evidence for use in “a foreign or international tribunal” encompasses private commercial arbitral tribunals, as the Fourth and Sixth U.S. Circuit Courts of Appeal have held, or excludes such tribunals without expressing an exclusionary intent, as the Second, Fifth, and, in the case below, the Seventh Circuit, have held. See Servotronics Inc. v. Rolls Royce PLC, No. 19-1847 (7th Cir. Sept. 22, 2020) (available at https://bit.ly/3dpNyF4).
Since the Court has declined to hear this case, the future of international private commercial arbitration discovery is still unclear, with pending cases in federal circuit courts.
For more background on the Servotronics history, please see CPR’s coverage:
- Cai Phillips-Jones, “United States Submits Amicus Brief in Servotronics International Arbitration Supreme Court Case,” CPR Speaks (July 8) (available here).
- Amy Foust, “The Next Arbitration Matter: Supreme Court Agrees to Decide Extent of Foreign Tribunal Evidence Powers,” (March 22) (available here).
- “YouTube Analysis: What Happens Next with the 3/22 Servotronics Cert Grant on Foreign Arbitration Evidence,” CPR Speaks (March 22) (available here).
- “CPR Files Amicus Brief Asking U.S. Supreme Court to Tackle Foreign Discovery for Arbitration,” CPR Speaks (Jan. 6) (available here).
- John B. Pinney, “Will the Supreme Court Take Up Allowing Discovery Under Section 1782 for Private International Arbitrations?” 38 Alternatives 103 (July/August 2020) (available at https://bit.ly/38PDOSk).
- John B. Pinney, “Update: The Section 1782 Conflict Intensifies as the International Arbitration Issue Goes to the Supreme Court,” 38 Alternatives 125 (September 2020) (available at https://bit.ly/3tbgFCX).
The Court recently scheduled its second–and suddenly, sole–arbitration matter for the new term. Badgerow v. Walters, No. 20-1143, will discuss “[w]hether federal courts have subject-matter jurisdiction to confirm or vacate an arbitration award under Sections 9 and 10 of the Federal Arbitration Act when the only basis for jurisdiction is that the underlying dispute involved a federal question.” It will be argued on Nov. 2.
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The author, a second-year student at Brooklyn Law School, is a 2021 CPR Fall Intern.