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Conflicts Between GDPR and U.S. Discovery Rules: Navigating the Privacy-Protection Law Catch-22

Strategies for Avoiding and Mitigating Conflicting Obligations Between U.S. and Local Law

Recording of a 90-minute CLE video webinar with Q&A

This program is included with the Strafford CLE Pass. Click for more information.
This program is included with the Strafford All-Access Pass. Click for more information.

Conducted on Tuesday, July 12, 2022

Recorded event now available

or call 1-800-926-7926

This CLE webinar will guide litigators in managing high-stakes clashes between U.S. discovery obligations and foreign privacy protection laws, primarily the EU's General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). The panel will discuss the growing importance of foreign privacy laws in U.S. litigation, current approaches to privacy law objections to U.S. discovery, and strategies for navigating the irreconcilable duties under GDPR and U.S. discovery rules.


The GDPR, effective May 2018, is increasingly relevant in U.S. litigation. Parties must determine whether they are entitled to provide records containing EU personal data to U.S. lawyers, investigators, regulators, and courts.

Multiple Federal district courts continue to reject the contention that the GDPR and other international privacy laws limit a party's discovery obligations. The Court of Justice of the European Union's "Schrems II" decision further complicated these issues, raising the stakes and solidifying a Catch-22 for entities involved in U.S. discovery.

Navigating the conflict between the GDPR and U.S. discovery requires thoughtful strategies and a thorough understanding of the priorities and obligations each set of rules requires. These issues typically are resolved case-by-case, and counsel must rely on sometimes conflicting precedents.

Listen as our panel provides guidance about this increasingly important area and how to navigate the conflicts between GDPR and U.S. discovery obligations.



  1. The growing importance of GDPR in U.S. litigation
  2. Foreign privacy law objections in U.S. discovery
    1. Societe Nationale Industrielle Aerospatiale v. U.S. Dist. Court for the S. Dist. of Iowa, 482 U.S. 522 (1987)
    2. Hague Conventions
    3. Schrems II decision
    4. Vesuvius USA Corp. v. Phillips, cert. denied, 141 S.Ct. 2627 (2021)
  3. Strategies for navigating the conflict


The panel will discuss these and other key issues:

  • Who is governed by GDPR?
  • What other GDPR-like laws create similar concerns abroad and in the United States?
  • Does the location of data or individuals matter?
  • Who is governed by U.S. discovery rules, and who can be compelled to produce data?
  • What are the consequences of transgressing GDPR? U.S. discovery obligations?
  • What can litigants and their counsel do to minimize the risks?


Clark, Anna
Anna Mercado Clark

Phillips Lytle

As leader of Phillips Lytle’s Data Security & Privacy and E-Discovery & Digital Forensics Practice Teams,...  |  Read More

Cohen, David
David R. Cohen

Reed Smith

Mr. Cohen is the chair of the firm’s Records & E-Discovery Group. He has 30 years of commercial litigation...  |  Read More

Ibraimova, Aselle
Asélle Ibraimova

Reed Smith

With experience working as in-house counsel in the tech and media industries before joining Reed Smith,...  |  Read More

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