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Sergeeva v. Tripleton Int'l Ltd.

United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit

August 23, 2016, Decided

Nos. 15-13008 & 15-15066

Opinion

 [*1196]  DALTON, District Judge:

In these consolidated appeals, Appellant challenges the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia's orders allowing discovery pursuant to Title 28, United States Code, § 1782 (Appeal No. 15-13008 ("First Appeal")) and imposing contempt sanctions (Appeal No. 15-15066 ("Second Appeal")). After a thorough review of the record and with the benefit of oral argument, we find no error and affirm the District Court in all respects.

After dissolving their sixteen-year marriage in the Russian Federation ("Russia"), former spouses Mikhail Leopoldovich Dubin ("Ex-Husband") and Appellee Anna Sergeeva ("Ex-Wife") commenced a distinct proceeding in the Hoamvnischesky District Court of Moscow ("Moscow Court") for division of marital assets ("Russian Dispute"). In the Russian Dispute, Ex-Wife claimed that Ex-Husband was concealing and dissipating marital assets through and with the assistance of "offshore companies" around the world.

Ex-Husband dodged, delayed, and opposed Ex-Wife's unrelenting efforts to obtain discovery in support of her claim, and their red in tooth and claw feud played out in countries around the world, including Cyprus, Latvia, Switzerland, [**3]  the British Virgin Islands ("BVI"), the Commonwealth of the Bahamas ("Bahamas"), and the United States of America. In the United States, Ex-Wife sought information from Gabriella Pugh ("Ms. Pugh") and her employer in Atlanta, Georgia—Appellant Trident Corporate Services, Inc. ("Trident Atlanta")—that she expected would reveal Ex-Husband's beneficial ownership of Bahamian corporation, Tripleton International Limited ("Tripleton"). When met with resistance, Ex-Wife initiated a § 1782 action in the Atlanta division of the District Court on July 25, 2013. Ex-Wife filed substantial evidence in support of her "Ex Parte Application for Judicial Assistance" ("Application"), including a lengthy and detailed declaration from her attorney, Dmitry Lovyrev ("Lovyrev"). On referral, the Magistrate Judge granted the ex parte Application and authorized service of two subpoenas ("Ex Parte MJ Order").

 [*1197]  The subpoena issued to Trident Atlanta ("Subpoena"): (a) referenced Tripleton, and other Bahamian corporations, including Guardian Nominees (Bahamas) Limited ("Guardian Bahamas") and Trident Corporate Services (Bahamas) Limited ("Trident Bahamas"); (b) referenced other "Trident Trust" entities located in Cyprus [**4]  and Switzerland; (c) demanded production of documents possessed by Trident Trust entities located outside the United States, including Trident Bahamas; and (d) instructed Trident Atlanta to furnish all responsive documents in its "possession, custody, or control, regardless of whether such documents or materials are possessed directly by [Trident Atlanta] or by any of [Trident Atlanta's] agents, representatives, attorneys, or their employees or investigators."

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834 F.3d 1194 *; 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 15409 **; 95 Fed. R. Serv. 3d (Callaghan) 985; 26 Fla. L. Weekly Fed. C 653

ANNA ALEKSANDROVNA SERGEEVA, a natural Person and Citizen of the Russian Federation, Plaintiff - Appellee, versus TRIPLETON INTERNATIONAL LIMITED, Defendant, TRIDENT CORPORATE SERVICES, INC., Interested Party - Appellant, GABRIELA PUGH, Interested Party.

Prior History:  [**1] Appeals from the United States District Court for the Northern District of Georgia. D.C. Docket No. 1:13-cv-3437-LMM.

In re Sergeeva, 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 183807 (N.D. Ga., Oct. 13, 2015)

Disposition: AFFIRMED.

CORE TERMS

district court, documents, discovery, Ex-Wife, Subpoena, contempt, orders, Extraterritoriality, sanctions, custody, Reconsideration, entities, tribunal, divorce, liaison, courts

Civil Procedure, Appeals, Standards of Review, Abuse of Discretion, International Law, Dispute Resolution, Evidence, Assistance Obtaining Evidence, Sanctions, Contempt, Discovery, Methods of Discovery, Inspection & Production Requests