The panel vacated a district judge’s order declining to overturn a magistrate judge’s denial of CPC Patent Technologies PTY Ltd.’s application pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1782 to compel Apple, Inc. to turn over documents, which CPC seeks to use in a potential lawsuit in Germany against an Apple affiliate, and remanded for further proceedings.
The district judge reviewed the magistrate judge’s decision for clear error.
Applying 28 U.S.C. § 636(b) and its procedural counterpart, Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 72, the panel held that CPC’s § 1782 application was a dispositive matter because the magistrate judge’s order denied the only relief sought by CPC in this federal case: court-ordered discovery. Because both parties did not consent to magistrate judge jurisdiction, the magistrate judge lacked jurisdiction to enter an order denying the application, and the district court should have treated the magistrate judge’s ruling at most as a non-binding recommendation subject to de novo review. The panel therefore remanded for the district court to apply the correct standard of review, and left it to the district court to determine whether the case would benefit from further analysis and review by the magistrate judge.
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