Cert. Watch: Servotronics v. Rolls-Royce

Readers, I am keeping my eye on the cert. petition in Servotronics, Inc. v. Rolls-Royce plc, a case I’ve written about before, which raises the question whether § 1782 reaches private international arbitrations, or more specifically, whether such arbitrations are proceedings in a foreign or International tribunal, as the statute requires. The petition was filed in December. I’ve said before that given the existing circuit split, a well-drafted petition could be compelling. But I also have expressed some doubt about whether the parties could get the case teed up for the Supreme Court in time to avoid mootness, since under ordinary rules the arbitration still has to be pending for the Court to have jurisdiction to hear the case.

The mootness concerns are real. Boeing, the respondent, sought an extension of time to oppose the petition. Although such extensions are usually unopposed and routinely granted by the clerk, Servotronics opposed the motion, although the clerk granted it, extending the time to February 10. But Servotronics then took what I think is the unusual (though entirely proper) step of asking the clerk to refer the matter to a justice in light of the need for speed. Yesterday Boeing responded to that request, but there is, as yet, no indication what the Court will do. I’ll keep you posted.

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