The United States Supreme Court is finally set to resolve a Circuit split regarding whether district courts can order discovery for private commercial arbitrations abroad pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1782. The Court granted certiorari in ZF Automotive US, Inc., v. Luxshare, Ltd., No. 21-2736, after another case raising the same question was abruptly abandoned in September 2021. See Servotronics Inc. v. Rolls-Royce PLC, No. 20-794 (Sept. 8, 2021). At the heart of the issue is whether Luxshare can use the U.S. court system to get document and deposition discovery from ZF Automotive US, Inc. in the service of a pending private commercial arbitration set in Germany.
Consider a hypothetical person named Jane, who bought a chair twenty years ago. The chair was designed to help relieve back pain, but it actually made it worse. Because Jane was trying many different remedies, she did not associate the chair with the new pain. Additionally, the problems with the chair were not discovered for many years, when a newspaper reported that the company had known this was a possibility. However, Jane had stopped using the chair after just a couple months, when she underwent a medical procedure that relieved her pain. Jane wants to bring a products liability claim for personal injury and negligent design, but are her claims time-barred? The answer may depend on the state in which Jane brings the action.