Personal Jurisdiction Over Non-U.S. Financial Institutions: New York State’s Highest Court Holds That New York’s Long-Arm Statute Establishes Personal Jurisdiction Over a Non-U.S. Bank Whose Only New York Connection Was Its Maintenance and Use of a Correspondent Banking Account

Sullivan & Cromwell LLP - December 4, 2012

On November 20, 2012, the New York Court of Appeals issued an opinion that is of substantial importance to international banks and financial institutions that maintain and use correspondent banking accounts in New York. In Licci v. Lebanese Canadian Bank, SAL (N.Y. Nov. 20, 2012), the Court of Appeals held that a non-U.S. bank’s maintenance and use of such an account to effect “dozens” of wire transfers, worth millions of dollars, on behalf of a non-U.S. client was sufficient to form the basis for personal jurisdiction under the New York State long-arm statute, N.Y. C.P.L.R. § 302(a)(1). Due to the prevalence of U.S. dollar-denominated financial transactions, many non-U.S. banks maintain and use correspondent accounts in New York. As a result, the Licci decision has the potential to increase plaintiffs’ ability to establish personal jurisdiction over non-U.S. financial intuitions in state and federal courts in New York.