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Ellis & Winters LLP Obtains Protective Order on Behalf of French Client to Avoid International Discovery Conflict

Apr 30, 2018 |
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Andrew S. Chamberlin

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Alex J. Hagan

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Alex M. Pearce

In March 2018 Ellis & Winters attorneys obtained an order in the United States District Court for the District of Arizona protecting a French client from discovery obligations that conflicted with the laws of its home country—including and especially the French Blocking Statute.  The client—a French manufacturing corporation defending against product liability claims—sought a protective order requiring the plaintiff to obtain discovery under the Hague Evidence Convention instead of traditional discovery methods available under the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.   Andrew Chamberlin and Alex Hagan from the firm’s Tort Litigation practice and Alex Pearce from the firm’s Privacy and Data Security practice successfully argued that discovery should take place under the supervision of a French discovery commissioner pursuant to Chapter II of the Hague Evidence Convention to avoid exposing the client to civil and criminal sanctions under French law.  The court’s order represents a key victory for international litigants faced with conflicting obligations under United States discovery rules and foreign data protection and blocking statutes.