Helga Glock – AGG Convinces 11th Circuit to Establish New Law in Discovery Related to Cross-Border Litigation
While they were married, Helga Glock and Gaston Glock, Sr. founded Glock GmbH, the global firearms company whose U.S. operations are based in Smyrna, Georgia. The company dominates the U.S. gun market, and most of its worldwide revenue derives from the United States. The Glocks founded Glock GmbH in 1963 and Mrs. Glock was actively involved in the business. The couple divorced in 2011. After the divorce, Mrs. Glock initiated legal proceedings in Austria for division of marital assets and alimony, but, because of the differing legal systems and the location of the U.S. affiliates, she was unable to obtain any financial information about the U.S. Glock affiliates. She retained Arnall Golden Gregory LLP to help her navigate the intersection of the differing legal systems and to evaluate how she could obtain critical financial data for the Austrian proceedings from the United States through the Austrian courts. She sought access to the U.S. companies’ financial documents for use in divorce-related litigation in Austria. She selected Arnall Golden Gregory because of the firm’s international litigation experience and its German language capabilities.
Using its lawyers’ multilingual capabilities and expertise in cross-border litigation, AGG analyzed the legal proceedings in Austria and determined how Mrs. Glock could obtain these documents. In March 2013, Arnall Golden Gregory used a specialized application to a federal district court to obtain evidence for use in a foreign tribunal. The application stated “Glock Sr. has erected a complex and opaque structure of holding companies and trusts … through which he can move and has moved what Mrs. Glock contends are marital assets.” Arnall Golden Gregory investigated Glock Sr.’s transfers of assets and trusts and shell companies, which are described in the court document.
In late 2013, the federal magistrate ordered that the Glock entities disclose their U.S. financial information to AGG’s client. The court wrote, “the requested documents will assist in identifying sources of Glock Sr.’s income and calculating that income for purposes of statutory spousal support.” The client received tens of thousands of documents in February 2014. In October 2014, Mrs. Glock filed a civil racketeering lawsuit in the U.S. District Court Northern District of Georgia against her husband. In support of the RICO case, Arnall Golden Gregory filed a motion to allow the documents produced for the divorce-related case to be used in the RICO case, which a federal magistrate ordered in November 2014. But the trial court overturned that order. On appeal in the U.S. Court of Appeals Eleventh Circuit, Arnall Golden Gregory argued before a three-judge panel that a party should be allowed to use evidence obtained for a foreign case in a separate U.S. case. The Eleventh Circuit agreed and overturned the trial court ruling. The appellate ruling established new law in the Eleventh Circuit in the area of international litigation. Mrs. Glock has been able to use the documents to assist in identifying and valuing marital assets to be divided, and to estimate her ex-husband’s worldwide income for purposes of the asset division..
- Kevin B. Getzendanner
- Glenn P. Hendrix
- Edward A. Marshall
- Jennifer L. Shelfer