Enforcement of U.S. Electronic Discovery Law Against Foreign Companies: Should U.S. Courts Give Effect to the EU Data Protection Directive?

By: Kristen A. Knapp


Enforcing discovery against companies located in foreign nations is not a new phenomenon. The U.S. Supreme Court took up the conflict between U.S. discovery rules and foreign non-disclosure law in a 1958 case.2 Despite more than fifty years to reach a settled jurisprudence regarding how to enforce U.S. law against foreign domiciled companies, there has yet to be a clear articulation of a standard applicable in all cases. Currently, there are two main sets of rules under which U.S. courts may enforce discovery laws against foreign companies, and if necessary impose sanctions for non-compliance: the Hague Convention and the U.S. Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. The trend of authority favors the use of the U.S. Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, but there remain some circumstances under which the Hague Convention is favored.


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