Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Case of the Day: Ace Decade Holdings v. UBS AG, 2016 N.Y.L.J. LEXIS 4553 (N.Y. Sup. Ct. Jan. 17, 2017)


Plaintiff is a British Virgin Islands company that invested into a Chinese company with money borrowed from defendant UBS. The defendant later issued a margin call, causing the plaintiff to lose its entire investment of US $500 million. Plaintiff and the defendant initially made the investment agreement in Hong Kong, but the plaintiff later relocated its operation to New York, in which UBS continued to service the transaction.

The court dismissed on the grounds of lack of personal jurisdiction and forum non conveniens. The court first found that New York had no general jurisdiction over UBS, a Swiss company. The court also found there was no specific jurisdiction, because UBS did not direct its activities to New York and the plaintiff could not "manufacture jurisdiction over UBS by moving its operations to New York." It was not enough that the plaintiff allegedly received fraudulent misrepresentations in New York, and the plaintiff did not suffer injury in New York because the proceeds of the investment were not located in New York.


This is another instance of Pamela Bookman's "Litigation Isolationism"--U.S. courts going great lengths to avoid litigation with transnational elements. It seems almost pointless for the court to avoid the suit like this one, when there is a New York-based plaintiff suing a global investment bank that clearly does a great deal of business in New York. But in post-Daimler world, it is almost impossible to obtain general jurisdiction over a foreign corporation no matter how extensive the corporation's business in the U.S. is. Although specific jurisdiction clauses remain, those clauses--as they are here--are interpreted very narrowly to avoid giving jurisdiction over a foreign defendant.

No comments:

Post a Comment