Tiffany (NJ) v. Andrew

U.S. DISTRICT COURT
SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF NEW YORK
Civil Practice

New York Law Journal

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Magistrate Judge Henry Pitman

Defendants defaulted Tiffany's claims that proceeds of sales of counterfeits were transferred to accounts in New York branches of Chinese banks. Tiffany subpoenaed information identifying account holders. The banks responded that all documents sought were in China and that their disclosure violates Chinese law. In response to a Hague Convention request, China's Ministry of Justice produced only some documents, noting that others sought lacked direct connection to Tiffany's suit. District court denied Tiffany's renewed motion to enforce the subpoenas. Albeit more limited than under the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, the banks' production through the ministry was not so limited that resort to Hague Convention process could be viewed as futile. It was not unreasonable that China chose a more restrictive view of the appropriate scope of pretrial discovery. Given the high cost of discovery under the FRCP and the fact that more than 30 countries have made the same reservation under the Hague Convention that China made, a conclusion that the broad scope of Federal Rules discovery is the only fair manner in which to conduct discovery would be "the essence of sanctimonious chauvinism."

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