The Role of Comity in Antitrust Discovery

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"Comity” refers to the spirit of cooperation in which a domestic tribunal approaches the resolution of cases touching the laws and interests of other sovereign states. As will be discussed in this article, difficult comity issues arise when U.S. courts must resolve discovery disputes involving documents that have been submitted to foreign antitrust enforcement agencies by a company under investigation, party to an enforcement action, or third party. In such cases, the U.S. courts weigh the competing interests of the party seeking the discovery and the interests of the foreign enforcement agency in respecting the rights of companies under investigation and defendants in their cases. U.S. courts also have recognized the importance of maintaining cooperative relationships with foreign enforcers.