Subpoenas Seeking Worldwide Discovery of BNPP Quashed in U.S. 7th Circuit Court of Appeals

March 29, 2017

On March 29, 2017, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit unanimously affirmed an order granting Cleary Gottlieb’s motion to quash subpoenas and Illinois citations served to the Chicago Branch of BNP Paribas in Leibovitch v. Islamic Republic of Iran.

The subpoenas and Illinois citations sought worldwide discovery and restraint of any and all Iranian assets held by BNPP. The Court of Appeals agreed with the lower court that neither general jurisdiction nor specific personal jurisdiction existed over BNPP that requires it to comply with the requested worldwide search and asset restraint.

In light of its ruling on the jurisdiction question, the Court of Appeals did not reach other issues raised in the appeal including the district court’s alternative holding, quashing the subpoenas and citations based on principles of comity. The issue of the proper scope of discovery on banks has been hotly litigated since recent decisions on jurisdiction by the U.S. Supreme Court, and this case is one of the first appellate level rulings to weigh in on the question.