More on Green Development

In In re Green Development Corp. (D. Md. 2016), the district judge affirmed the magistrate judge’s order, which we saw yesterday, denying Green Development Corp.’s § 1782 application.

The order is quite terse, and not particularly interesting on the substance. I note the decision simply because it’s an example of the issue about a magistrate judge’s authority in § 1782 cases. The issue turns on whether the § 1782 application is considered a dispositive motion or instead a non-dispositive pretrial matter. Under 28 U.S.C. § 636, the magistrate judge can decide non-dispositive matters, subject to a review only if the decision is clear error or contrary to law. But on dispositive matters the magistrate judge can only make a report and recommendation, which the district judge can review de novo. It is apparent from the decisions here that the magistrate judge and the district judge implicitly understand § 1782 applications as dispositive: the magistrate made a report and recommendation, and the district judge reviewed it de novo.

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