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long arm statuteNorm Simon and Samantha Ettari wrote an article for Monday’s edition of the Metropolitan Corporate Counsel magazine regarding how New York’s long-arm statute (§ 302(a)(1)) may give New York courts jurisdiction over non-New Yorkers by merely sending e-mail to someone in New York!

Mr. Simon and Ms. Ettari surveyed a number of recent cases that relate to whether’s New York’s jurisdiction statute  gives the state jurisdiction over foreign parties, even where that party’s only contact with New York was by phone, e-mail or other electronic communication.

A leading case cited by the authors is Deutsche Bank Sec., Inc. v. Montana Bd. of Inv. In that case,  an out-of-stater used an electronic messenging service to transact a deal with a trader, based in the trader’s home office in New York. Under those facts, the Court of Appeals held that  “proof of one transaction in New York is sufficient to invoke jurisdiction, even though the defendant never enters New York, so long as the defendant’s activities here were purposeful and there is a substantial relationship between the transaction and the claim asserted.”

However, recent New York Supreme Court cases have held that e-mail, and even telephone conversations alone will not support New York long-arm jurisdiction without something more. The authors cited one recent case,  CPI NA Parnassus B.V. v. Ornelas-Hernandez, Index No. 600997/08 (Sup. Ct. N.Y. Co. Feb. 6, 2009), where a business deal was transacted electronically, but the two out-of-state parties dealt with a third party based in New York. In that case, the court found a sufficient nexus between the transaction from which the litigation arose, the parties, and the state. However, the same judge ruled in Shahidsaless v. Ebadi,  Index No. 115835/07 (Sup. Ct. N.Y. Co. Jan. 14, 2009) that one meeting in New York by two out-of-state parties, along with an e-mail exchange between them was not sufficient to establish jurisdiction.

The authors concluded that the courts consider many factors when determining long-arm jurisdiction based on electronic or other contacts with parties in New York.  The cases mentioned indicate that small differences in the facts of a situation can make all the difference in ambiguous cases.

As always, you may contact our office with any questions about  this or a related matter.

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divorced parentsOur office is committed to ensuring that our present and future matrimonial and family law clientsare fully apprised of the ramifications of their decisions. Mitchell H. Rubinstein, of the Adjunct Law Profs Blog, reported on a recent case in New York’s highest court, which was decided at the end of April, Fuentes v. Board of Education.

In that case, a couple was divorced and the divorce decree gave full custody to one parent and there was no provisions in either the decree or the custody order creating any system for shared educational decision making. The issue was whether, nonetheless, the non-custodial parent retained not only the ability to stay involved in the children’s education, but also the right to make decisions regarding to the children’s education.

In this case, the parties child, “M.F.,” was blind and required special education. Mr. Fuentes, the non-custodial parent, felt that M.F.’s services were inadequate. The Committe on Special Education disagreed and the Impartial Hearing office denied his request for an appeal, holding that he lacked standing to appeal because he was the non-custodial parent and had no right to make educational decisions for his child.

The Court emphasized that its desire was to see to it that couple’s work out questions of educational decision making at the time of divorce, rather than leaving the issue to result in possible litigation. In that vein, it would be advisable to fully discuss all major eventualities before one’s divorce is complete so that  such ambiguities may be avoided.

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bankruptcy rebuild credit

Many individuals who file for bankruptcy already have heavily damaged credit due to late payments, repossessions, foreclosure proceedings and judgments. In this case, one of the factors that has driven down that person’s credit is a very high debt-to-income ratio. A bankruptcy may actually help such a person raise his or her credit score by eliminating part of the debt that was throwing off the ratio. 

Although a bankruptcy will appear on someone’s credit score for up to 10 years, one’s credit score can be raised almost immediately after a bankruptcy discharge by implementing healthy credit and budgeting habits. There are several things that one can do to rebuild credit over time.

  • You may be tempted not to use any credit at all lest you fall back into bad credit habits. This may be necessary if you know that you lack the self-control to use credit responsibly. But if not, you should be aware that your credit score will not go up unless the credit beaureaus see some evidence of responsibly held credit. This is why it is a good idea to get one credit card whose balance you paid off every month. This will help raise your credit score.
  • Two types of credit are needed to bring up the credit score. One must develop a history of making timely payments on both “installment credit” accounts and “revolving credit” accounts. “Installment credit” means long-term set payments on a credit account like mortgage or car payments. “Revolving accounts” involve payments on accounts whose monthly payments are determined by  one’s current balance, like credit card payments and home equity line of credit payments.
  • If you have car payments or a mortgage after bankruptcy, one should consider developing credit using a credit card. Sometimes one of a debtor’s credit card companies may allow that person to keep a credit card after bankruptcy, in exchange for an agreement that some of the debt from that card will carry over after the rest of his debt is discharged. If you pay the balance of the credit card every month, this will slowly improve your credit rating.
  • Alternatively, you can build up your credit score by getting a “secured credit card.” This is a credit card with your bank that is secured by an account balance to ensure that the lender can collect on any unpaid bills. 

It goes without saying that one must leave behind all of the old habits that lead to high debt in the first place. One must make a budget and live within it. Sometimes this may involve taking on an additional job to make sure that all of one’s financial obligations are met on a timely basis.You may contact our office for a free consultation with an experienced bankruptcy attorney with regard to whether this or another type of bankruptcy may be appropriate for your situation.

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