The US Supreme Court has issued a decision in Daimler AG v. Bauman, 134 S. Ct. 746 (2014), that could be significant for non-US banks with US branches, as well as for US banks with branches outside of their home state.

Under Daimler, a company typically will be subject to general personal jurisdiction – in other words, subject to suit on claims unrelated to the forum – only in the place where it is incorporated or where it has its principal place of business. The decision adopts an approach similar to that of the European Union, where a corporation generally may be sued in the nation in which it is “domiciled”—which has been defined to refer only to the location of the corporation’s “statutory seat,” “central administration” or “principal place of business.” This is a significant change from US law before Daimler, under which a US court—based on the presence of a branch in the forum state—could exercise general jurisdiction over a bank that had neither a place of incorporation nor a head office in the forum state.

Daimler could have particular significance for the ability of judgment creditors to require a non-US bank to turn over assets belonging to a non-US depositor/judgment debtor—an area where the New York Court of Appeals decision in Koehler v. Bank of Bermuda Ltd., 911 N.E.2d 825 (N.Y. 2009), has created significant confusion and risk to non-US banks. Because Daimler curtails the ability of a judgment creditor to establish jurisdiction over non-US banks, this could ameliorate the Koehler rule for banks other than those with a New York state charter or their principal place of business in New York.

However, given the breadth of the decision, there may be some judicial and legislative resistance to its holding.

Please join Andy Pincus, Mark Hanchet and Alex Lakatos as they discuss the impact of the Daimler decision on non-US banks with US branches, as well as US banks with branches outside of their home state.