Ayyash v. Koleilat

NEW YORK COUNTY
Civil Practice

New York Law Journal

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Justice Ellen Coin

Ayyash obtained a judgment in 2005 against judgment debtor Koleilat for fraud in the aftermath of the collapse of a Lebanese bank owned by Ayyash. He now sought to compel compliance with information subpoenas and subpoenas duces tecum filed with the county clerk of New York County as a Maryland sister-state money judgment. Ayyash served these subpoenas and restraining notices on various New York branches and subsidiaries of financial institutions. The banks objected and stated they held no accounts or other assets for the Koleilat, and that production of any requested information may subject the institutions to privacy and/or confidentiality laws. The court ruled Ayyash's reading of CPLR 5224(a-1) would negate the well-established separate entity rule in which beach branch of a bank was treated as a separate entity. Even if such rule were no longer extant, the court stated it would be proper to deny Ayyash's motion as he failed to show any fraudulent activity within the state regarding a judgment obtained in Lebanon against a foreign citizen now residing in Brazil. Thus, principles of comity require Ayyash to seek his requested information through the foreign country's discovery processes or the Hague Convention, as principlies of international comity prohibit New York from encroaching upon another nation's sovereignty by requiring citizens to take action within their home country that may contravene their country’s laws. Hence, Ayyash's motion was denied.

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