Court rejects nationwide service of third-party arbitration subpoena

The United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, in a non-reinsurance matter, has held that the Federal Arbitration Act does not authorize nationwide service of process of third-party subpoenas. This opinion is of particular interest since it exposes a jurisdictional gap: the FAA provides that subpoenas issued by arbitrators may be enforced by the District Court in which the arbitration panel sits (the Southern District of New York in this matter), yet that Court did not have jurisdiction over the recipient of the subpoena, which was located in Texas, due to the failure of Congress to provide for nationwide jurisdiction. The Court indicated that this was a problem for Congress to address, and that parties should consider the likely sources of third-party evidence when deciding where to arbitrate disputes. Dynegy Midstream Services, LP v. Trammochem, Case No. 05-3544 (2d Cir. June 13, 2006).