In Bankruptcy Proceeding, District Court Finds No General Personal Jurisdiction Over Individuals and Entities Operating Principally Outside U.S.

The World in U.S. Courts: Summer 2014 - Personal Jurisdiction

Refco Group, LLC v. Cantor Fitzgerald L.P., United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, June 10, 2014

Plaintiff, a reorganized entity in bankruptcy, alleged that Defendants siphoned funds and assets away from the subsidiaries of a limited partnership, of which Plaintiff held a 10% interest. Defendants are all companies and individual executives of the Cantor group of companies, many of which are organized and operate outside the U.S. These individuals and entities moved to dismiss the claims for lack of personal jurisdiction.

Because the claims arise out of a bankruptcy proceeding, only the federal personal jurisdiction test is at issue, rather than New York law. The Court declined to find personal jurisdiction over the Cantor entities, concluding that Plaintiffs failed to allege continuous or systematic contacts with the United States. As such, the entities could not be considered “at home” in the United States and general personal jurisdiction—the only kind alleged—did not exist. Furthermore, the Court noted that its jurisdiction over related U.S. entities could not confer jurisdiction.

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