Commercial transactions often involve parties from different states. When a dispute arises between diverse parties, the question of whether a party can obtain personal jurisdiction over a defendant becomes critical. This issue becomes even more apparent when the defendant is a foreign corporation that conducts business across the world. In a recent decision from the
Free Rein Venue Choices? Not So Fast Says the Commercial Division
The principles of jurisdiction and venue are paramount when determining not only where a proceeding will be conducted, but also which particular laws will govern the proceeding. Typically, contracting parties attempt to resolve jurisdiction and venue issues by including an exclusive jurisdiction and/or forum selection clause within a contract.
The Ball is in Who’s Court?: Commercial Division Denies Plaintiffs’ Attempt to Invalidate Forum-Selection Clause in Promissory Notes
Most commercial contracts contain a choice of law provision and/or forum-selection clause. Under New York law, it is well recognized “that parties to a contract may freely select a forum which will resolve any disputes over the interpretation or performance of the contract” (Brooke Group Ltd v JCH Syndicate 488 et al). Recently,…
Preliminary Injunctions: Jurisdictional Issue Undermines Likelihood of Success on the Merits
It is well settled that in order to obtain a preliminary injunction pursuant to CPLR 6301, a plaintiff has the burden to establish “(1) a likelihood of success on the merits of the action; (2) the danger of irreparable injury in the absence of preliminary injunctive relief; and (3) a balance of equities in favor of the moving party.” Id. at *2 citing Nobu Next Door, LLC v. Fine Arts Housing, Inc., 4 N.Y.3d 839 (N.Y. Ct. App. 2005).
At the outset, the court addressed the issue of whether the court had jurisdiction over Chateauvert, a Canadian resident. Id. at *2. In September 2013 and two years after graduation from college, Chateauvert signed a Confidentiality and Non-Compete Agreement (“Agreement”) related to Chateauvert’s employment with Setter. Id. The Agreement contains a choice of law and forum selection clause selecting New York law as governing law and New York courts as the exclusive venue and jurisdiction for disputes. Id. at *2.
In its analysis, the court addressed the question of the enforceability of the choice of law and forum selection clause of the Agreement (as an employment agreement) under Sections 5-1401 and 5-1402 of New York’s General Obligation Law (“GOL”). Id. at *2-3. “GOL § 5-1401 provides for the enforcement of choice of law provisions in contracts over $250,000 and GOL § 5-1402 provides for the enforcement of forum selection provisions in contracts over $1,000,000. Id. The court explained that that GOL § 5-1401 is inapplicable to contracts for “labor or personal services,” and although GOL § 5-1402 allows for actions based on contracts against non-residents to be maintained in New York “where: (1) the contract contains a choice of law clause pursuant to GOL § 5-1401,” that neither section was applicable in the case. Id. at 3 (citation omitted). Reading into the legislative intent behind these GOL provisions, the court also questioned whether Chateauvert, just two years out of college, was the “sophisticated business person the legislature envisioned in 1985 when GOL § 5-1401 and § 5-1402 were enacted.” Id. at *3.
The court determined that “if the court cannot exercise jurisdiction pursuant to the Agreement, then plaintiff must establish jurisdiction.” Setter, supra, at *3. The court found that the jurisdictional issue was “an issue of fact that undermines plaintiff’s likelihood of success.” Id.…
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New York’s Long-Arm Statute Thwarts Dismissal In International Shareholder Derivative Action
Undoubtedly, unsuspecting foreign corporations may find themselves having business connections in New York and subject to the jurisdiction of New York courts.
This blog post focuses on a recent decision by Hon. Andrew Borrock of the Commercial Division of the New York State Supreme Court for New York County in Matter of Renren, Inc. Derivative
How to Effectuate a Change in Venue in an E-filed Case: lesson to the bar
Ever wondered how to effectuate a transfer of venue following your successful motion to change venue in an e-filed case? Well wonder no more, as the Hon. Robert D. Kalish provides the bench and bar with a useful roadmap of what to do in American Transit A/S/O Sherman Ave. Eight Inc. v. Flour City Bagels…
Successful Challenge To a Forum-Selection Clause Requires a “Strong Showing” – So Select Your Forum Wisely
Forum-selection clauses were once widely disfavored by many courts on the theory that such provisions operated to improperly divest the court of jurisdiction. But now, it is well-recognized that parties to a contract may freely select a forum of their choosing to resolve a dispute arising from that contract. In fact, forum-selection clauses are now …
Fugitive Tycoon Guo Wengui, Seeking Asylum in United States, Denied Protection from Creditors’ New York Lawyers
In 2015, Guo Wengui, a/k/a Kwok Ho Wan, a Chinese citizen, billionaire investor and political provocateur, fled China for the United States amid reported investigations by the Chinese government involving several of his businesses and business partners. Mr. Guo reportedly left behind approximately $17 billion in Chinese assets, which have been frozen. Despite living…