Financial Institution Clients Defeat Attempt to Enforce Broad Discovery Subpoenas

October 22, 2012

On October 22, Cleary Gottlieb defeated in New York Supreme Court a motion to compel its clients Crédit Agricole Corporate and Investment Bank and HSBC Bank USA to comply with post-judgment subpoenas seeking worldwide third party discovery of a judgment debtor’s assets. Plaintiff, a Saudi resident, had sought to require 16 New York branches or subsidiaries of global banks to produce from the banks’ worldwide files documents that might assist him in collecting a judgment he obtained in Lebanon against a former employee who fled to Brazil. Invoking New York’s long-standing “separate branch” rule, as well as principles of comity and public policy, the court quashed the subpoenas, noting that it would be unjust and inappropriate to compel the burdensome worldwide discovery that the plaintiff sought.