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Judge stays ruling to submit Saudi Arabia PIF and its governor to discovery


A ruling that could subject the Public Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia and its governor to discovery in a U.S. District Court has been stayed pending a closer review.

The original ruling, granted by a magistrate judge, ordered the PIF and its governor, Yasir Al-Rumayyan, to submit to discovery in the antitrust case against the PGA Tour by a group of players who joined LIV Golf.

Lawyers for the Tour had claimed that PIF and Al-Rumayyan were the “de facto” leaders of LIV Golf and therefore should be forced to submit to discovery in the circuit’s countersuit; while attorneys for the fund contend they are simply investors in the start-up league and are not subject to the jurisdiction of U.S. courts.

The magistrate judge agreed with the Tour and ordered the PIF and Al-Rumayyan to participate in discovery, including depositions of Al-Rumayyan and other officials with the fund. Judge Beth Labson Freeman ruled Wednesday, however, for that order to be stayed.

“The court finds the motion to be suitable for decision without oral argument,” Labson Freeman wrote.

The original order created “thorny issues” involving foreign sovereignty and immunity claims “that will require careful and serious consideration by this court to resolve.”

The Tour has moved to include the PIF and Al-Rumayyan to be added to the countersuit as defendants, but the judge ruled on Wednesday for the fund to be treated as “non-parties” to the litigation “pending service of process” on the PIF.

The judge also ordered that other discovery in the antitrust case should continue; although, the Tour said in motions filed last week that neither the PIF nor Al-Rumayyan have provided any requests for information.