In an opinion yesterday, Judge Abrams found that the court lacked long-arm jurisdiction over British rocker Jeff Beck in a case over the rightful ownership of one of his guitars. The guitar purchaser, plaintiff Perry Margouleff, sought a judicial declaration to refute Beck’s claims that the guitar was stolen from him at a 1969 concert in New York.  As Judge Abrams explained, being the victim of a theft in New York does not amount to the necessary “purposeful availment” that would subject Beck to the court’s jurisdiction:
Continue Reading Judge Abrams: Jeff Beck Cannot Be Sued in New York Just Because 1969 Guitar Theft Leading to Ownership Dispute Occurred Here

In an opinion yesterday, Judge Swain ruled that “leave and mail” service under the CPLR was inconsistent with due process when used on a nonresident, at least where the case arises outside New York.  The petitioner had sought to confirm an arbitration award against an Indian citizen who lives abroad but who apparently rents an apartment in the Time Warner Center in Manhattan.  While the respondent was in town, the petitioner left a copy at the Time Warner Center and mailed a second copy.  Judge Swain found that the respondent would have to be personally served while here to satisfy due process:
Continue Reading Judge Swain: CPLR “Leave and Mail” Service Insufficient for Nonresidents Where Claims Arise Outside New York

Judge Engelmayer today granted the federal government’s motion for leave to effect alternative service on a group of Lebanese financial institutions accused of a $450 million money-laundering scheme involving Hizballah, a group designated as a Foreign Terrorist Organization by the U.S. Department of State. The government filed its in rem civil forfeiture and money-laundering complaint against the Lebanese institutions and other defendants on December 15, 2011, alleging a scheme by which funds were transferred from Lebanon to the United States in order to purchase used cars, which were then shipped to West Africa and sold for cash. That cash was then allegedly transferred, along with the proceeds of narcotics trafficking and other crimes, to Lebanon. Members of Hizballah were involved at various stages of the process.
Continue Reading Judge Engelmayer Orders Foreign Defendants’ U.S. Counsel to Accept Service in Terrorist Money-Laundering Case