Last week, U.S. Magistrate Judge M. David Weisman, issued an order in a case pitting the state of Illinois against Monsanto and other chemical manufacturers for discharging PCBs. Illinois sought to compel disclosure of certain documents the defendants produced in conjunction with ADR proceedings that arose during nine other lawsuits spanning back to 1984.
The cases raises questions of arbitration confidentiality, mediation confidentiality, international choice of law, domestic choice of law, courts’ protective orders, mediator privilege, attorney-client privilege, and a fair amount of plain old fashioned discovery disputes about scope, relevance, burdens, etc.
[Spoiler alert: each party had reason to be disappointed in Judge Weisman’s opinion..]
If I were teaching this term, I’d be tempted to just have students analyze the opinion for their final exam. I wouldn’t do it, probably. But I’d be tempted.