Quinn v. Altria Group, Inc., et al.

Extraterritorial Application of U.S. Discovery Laws

NCLC's Position

NCLC urged the District Court for the Southern District of New York to use the Hague Convention procedures to resolve a conflict between the extraterritorial application of U.S. discovery laws, and Swiss privacy laws. In this case, the plaintiffs sought U.S. discovery of documents in the possession of a Swiss affiliate of the defendant, the production of which could result in Swiss criminal sanctions for the employees of the Swiss affiliate. According to NCLC, principles of international comity required the Court to apply the Hague Convention's discovery procedures, which were designed precisely to prevent the conflict of international judicial processes that the plaintiff's discovery request would produce. NCLC argued that the application of the Hague Convention discovery procedures would help prevent further international judicial conflicts that impede global commerce.

Case Outcome

Agreeing with NCLC, the District Court for the Southern District of New York decided to use Hague Convention procedures to resolve a conflict between the extraterritorial application of U.S. discovery laws, and Swiss privacy laws.

Procedural History

Amicus brief filed 10/16/09. Decided 12/4/09.

Case Documents