Judgment Secured: Now What? 'Koehler provides greater New York state access to banks for collection By Daniel L. Brown and Elizabeth M. Rotenberg-Schwartz

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The continuing global financial crisis and related litigation will implicate, if it has not already done so, the collectibility of judgments obtained. In this context a recent decision of the New York Court of Appeals, answering a question certified by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, bears close examination.

On June 4, 2009, the New York Court of Appeals issued a decision in favor of a plaintiff who, for over 16 years, has been attempting to collect on a default judgment that he obtained against his former business partner in 1993. The decision, Koehler v. Bank of Bermuda Limited (Koehler), 2009 NY Slip Op 04297, No. 82, 2009 N.Y. LEXIS 1751 (June 4, 2009), is already being hailed as a landmark for judgment creditors. It is now the law in this state that New York courts are empowered to order any bank over which they have personal jurisdiction to turn over, to a judgment creditor, a judgment debtor’s property or assets held at the bank, regardless of whether the court has personal jurisdiction over the judgment debtor or the judgment creditor.

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