On Feb. 18, 2014, the New York Court of Appeals accepted certification of two legal questions from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit relating to the “separate entity rule.” That rule, as enunciated by intermediate New York courts for over 50 years, provides that in proceedings to enforce judgments in New York, New York branches of banks shall be considered separate entities from all foreign branches of the banks. Its application has prevented judgment creditors from forcing banks, through their New York branches, to restrain and/or turn over assets of a judgment debtor held by foreign branches of banks. That may now change. Given the presence in New York of numerous banks with foreign branches, the decision by the Court of Appeals will be one of the most important rulings in New York, if not the country, in the area of post-judgment enforcement.
The specific questions before the Court of Appeals are:
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