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In re Solines

United States District Court, E.D. Louisiana

April 30, 2018

IN RE: MONICA ALEGRIA SOLINES

         SECTION "R" (3)

          REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION

          DANIEL E. KNOWLES, III UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

         On April 11, 2018, the District Court referred this matter to the undersigned. [Doc. #4]. In the Application of Monica Alegria Solines for Discovery Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1782 [Doc. #1], Solines asks the Court for an order pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1782 to obtain discovery from Respondent Children's Hospital of New Orleans (“Children's Hospital”).[1] Solines seeks this discovery for use in pending foreign proceedings in which she is a party. This Court has federal question jurisdiction pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1331 as this matter arises under 28 U.S.C. § 1782. Having reviewed the prevalent case law and the pleadings, the Court rules as follows.

         I. Background

         Solines is an Ecuadorian citizen involved in a child support dispute with her ex-husband, Patricio Arias Valencia (“Arias”). [Declaration of David Francisco Garcés (“Doc. 1-1”) at ¶¶ 6-11].[2] Solines and Arias are the parents of two young children. Arias is a doctor who specializes in gastroenterology at Children's Hospital, a hospital located at 200 Henry Clay Avenue, New Orleans, Louisiana. In this Section 1782 application, Solines seeks to obtain documents that are relevant to her Ecuadorian litigation against Arias. Specifically, Solines seeks documents concerning Arias's position at Children's Hospital and his compensation - documents, she contends, that are relevant to the Ecuadorian action in which Arias's income is a central issue.

         II. Law and Analysis

         “The history of section 1782 indicates that Congress intended federal courts to provide broad assistance to foreign litigants who request permission to conduct discovery in the United States.” Application of Sarrio S.A. for Assistance Before Foreign Tribunals, 173 F.R.D. 190, 193 (S.D. Tex. 1995). Such discovery “promote[s] international dispute resolution and comity.” Republic of Ecuador v. Connor, 708 F.3d 651, 654 (5th Cir. 2013).

         There are three statutory requirements to obtain discovery under Section 1782. Those requirements are: (1) the applicant is an “interested person”; (2) the discovery is “for use in a proceeding in a foreign or international tribunal”; and (3) the source of the requested discovery “resides or is found” in the district where the application is filed. 28 U.S.C. § 1782; see also Texas Keystone, Inc. v. Prime Nat. Res., Inc., 694 F.3d 548, 553 (5th Cir. 2012). For the reasons outlined below, the Court finds that Solines satisfies each requirement.

         With regard to the first factor, Solines is a party to the underlying Ecuadorian lawsuit. [Doc. 1-1 at ¶¶ 6, 11]. As a party, Solines is an “interested person” under Section 1782. Intel Corp. v. Advanced Micro Devices, Inc., 542 U.S. 241, 256 (2004) (“[n]o doubt litigants are included among, and may be the most common example of, the ‘interested person[s]' who may invoke § 1782”).

         As to the second factor, Solines seeks discovery “for use in” a foreign proceeding - the underlying Ecuadorian lawsuit. The Court finds that Arias's employment and salary information would be relevant to Solines's child-support action. Such information would be relevant to determining the proper level of support that Arias owes Solines and her children. [Doc. #1-1 at ¶¶ 12-13].[3]

         And lastly, Children's Hospital is found in this district.

         In short, Solines easily satisfies all of Section 1782's statutory requirements.

         However, that is not the end of this Court's inquiry. Once Section 1782's “statutory requirements are met, a district court is free to grant discovery in its discretion.” In re Application for an Order Permitting Metallgesellschaft AG to Take Discovery, 121 F.3d 77, 78 (2d Cir. 1997). “[D]istrict courts must exercise their discretion under § 1782 in light of the twin aims of the statute: ‘providing efficient means of assistance to participants in international litigation in ...


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