Case of the Day: In re Request for International Judicial Assistance

The case of the day is In re Request for International Judicial Assistance from the Sixteenth Family Court of the Supreme Court of Justice of the Federal District (N.D. Cal. 2014). In connection with divorce proceedings in Mexico, a Mexican family court sent a letter rogatory, apparently through the diplomatic channel, to the United States seeking relevant bank records from a Bank of America branch in San Francisco.

The US Attorney brought an ex parte application under § 1782, which the court granted without much fuss. The only reason I bring the case up is that in light of a foreign litigant’s ability to seek evidence in the United States directly under § 1782, and (in the criminal context) in light of the use of MLATs, it seems less and less usual to see an actual letter rogatory directed into the United States. If you’re curious about what an example from Mexico looks like, check out the exhibits to the government’s submission.

This Post Has 3 Comments

  1. Eddie Varon Levy

    Hi Ted. I write this comment because not only I know one of the parties in this case (as she is a public figure in Mexico), but rather, as you stated, I believe there is an issue that at least for me, breaks new ground. As a former Assistant Attorney General for International Affairs in Mexico, I wonder how can it be that, although any private party may invoke § 1782 in order to obtain discovery in the United States, (and as many times as I have done it), but now, it is not a private lawyer doing it, but the United States Attorney´s Office? This is, since when does the United States Attorney´s Office gets involved in a private family law foreign discovery dispute? I believe that probably because there was a basic “Letter Rogatory” from the court in Mexico which went through “Central authority” and Diplomatic Channels”, therefore, it was then referred to the US Attorney for the Northern District. Needless to say, I consider this issue of UTMOST importance. I shall investigate and find out for our readers. Thank you.

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