In re Application of Mare Shipping Inc.
U.S. DISTRICT COURT
SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF NEW YORK
Judge P. Kevin Castel
The oil tanker Prestige sank off Spain in 2002. Spanish prosecutors sued Mare Shipping and captain Mangouras (Applicants). In connection with their July 8, 2013, application for an order under 28 USC §1782 to conduct discovery for use in foreign proceedings, a July 13 subpoena, served on respondent law firm Squire Sanders—and partner Starer—sought documents and testimony related to their service as counsel for Spain in a Southern District case that ended in August 2012. Despite finding respondents not entitled to assert Spain's foreign immunity, and that they satisfied the three prongs for a §1782 request, district court denied Applicants' motion to compel compliance with the subpoena. Second Circuit affirmed a §1782 request's denial when the respondent New York law firm possessed evidence belonging to a client that was a party to a foreign proceeding. The court noted that Applicants could apply to the Spanish court to compel Spain to order its U.S. lawyers to produce the subpoenaed materials. Observing that Applicants did not seek Starer's testimony in Spain the court, citing Aventis Pharma v. Wyeth, noted that courts in the district have denied §1782 requests when a party did not first seek production in the foreign forum.