The opinion of the court was delivered by: THOMAS P. GRIESA
This is a petition to obtain discovery in aid of arbitration proceedings now pending in Moscow and Stockholm. Petitioner Technostroyexport ("Technostroy") is a foreign economic association organized under the laws of the Russian Federation. Technostroy has initiated an arbitration in Moscow against International Development and Trade Services, Inc. ("IDTS"). IDTS has brought an arbitration proceeding against Technostroy in Stockholm.
IDTS is a New York corporation. Its president is Edith Reich. Brigitte R. Jossem-Kumpf is a director and sole shareholder of IDTS. Both of these persons maintain residences and offices in New York.
The present petition seeks to obtain documents from IDTS and to obtain the deposition testimony of Reich and Jossem-Kumpf for use in the arbitration proceedings. On January 6, 1994, based on the ex parte application of Technostroy, Judge Mukasey, sitting in Part I of this court, signed an order permitting the issuance of a subpoena duces tecum to IDTS and deposition subpoenas to Reich and Jossem-Kumpf. The subpoenas were duly served.
On February 18, 1994 respondents IDTS, Reich and Jossem-Kumpf filed a motion seeking to have the court vacate the January 6 order, quash the subpoenas, dismiss the petition, and refer the parties to the pending arbitration proceedings. Technostroy has moved to compel compliance with the document subpoena, taking the position that it is not required to affirmatively move to enforce the testimony subpoenas. In any event, Technostroy seeks to enforce the January 6 order and all the subpoenas. Hearings were held on March 8 and March 15 before Judge Griesa, who was then the Part I judge and is ruling on the pending motions.
The court grants the motion of IDTS and denies Technostroy's motion.
The problems involved in the arbitration proceedings involve certain contracts by the Russian association to sell minerals to IDTS. Also involved is an agreement by the Russian association appointing IDTS and another company as agent for the sale of minerals. The Russian association will be referred to in this opinion as Technostroy, although a different name may have been used in at least some of the contracts, and it may be that there is some question about whether Technostroy is actually the successor to that contracting Russian entity. However, this issue is not involved in the present motions. The arbitration proceedings are between Technostroy and IDTS.
In the Moscow arbitration Technostroy claims that IDTS has purchased large amounts of minerals from Technostroy and has refused to pay for them. Technostroy bases its claims on seven written sales contracts, and asserts that IDTS owes approximately $ 172 million. It appears that one crucial issue is whether the written contracts were amended orally to reduce the total price. Another issue is whether IDTS has made payment of some $ 58 million. All seven of the sales contracts provide for arbitration in Russia. The agency contract provides for arbitration in Stockholm. The latter circumstance has resulted in IDTS bringing an arbitration proceeding in Stockholm and asserting claims against Technostroy under the agency agreement and two of the sales contracts. Technostroy has raised jurisdictional objections in the Stockholm arbitration.
In the petition to this court, Technostroy asserts that the nature of the issues in the arbitration proceedings make it imperative to obtain discovery from respondents IDTS, Reich and Jossem-Kumpf. In addition to the need for obtaining relevant documents, there is the need, according to Technostroy, to obtain the testimony of Reich and Jossem-Kumpf, who were both intimately involved in the relevant transactions and negotiations.
Both Technostroy and respondents have submitted sworn statements from experts on Russian and Swedish law. Respondents' experts concede that, under certain circumstances, discovery may be available in arbitration proceedings in those countries. But they assert that application must be made to the arbitrators, and that court intervention can occur only in the Russian and Swedish courts, and then only to enforce the ruling of the arbitrators. Technostroy's experts, on the other hand, assert that the provisions relied upon by respondents' experts apply only to situations where the discovery is sought in Russia or in Sweden and do not touch the question of discovery sought in foreign countries. Therefore, according to Technostroy's experts, there is no bar under Russian or Swedish law preventing Technostroy from going directly to a United States court and obtaining an order for discovery in the United States.
Technostroy relies upon 28 U.S.C. § 1782(a), which gives a Federal District Court the authority to obtain testimony or document production "for use in a proceeding in a foreign . . . ...