NY Commercial Division Dismisses Lawsuit Against Friedman Kaplan Client ANA and Awards ANA the Attorney’s Fees It Incurred in Defending the Lawsuit
Justice Saliann Scarpulla of the Supreme Court of New York, New York County, issued a decision handing a resounding victory to Friedman Kaplan’s client All Nippon Airways Co., Ltd. and its affiliates (together, “ANA”) in a case filed against ANA, Japan’s largest airline, by a former supplier, Kyowa Seni, Co., Ltd. (“Kyowa”). In its 32-page complaint, Kyowa alleged that in the course of its business relationship with ANA in Japan, ANA defrauded and then improperly terminated its contractual relationship with Kyowa. Justice Scarpulla dismissed all of Kyowa’s claims on personal jurisdiction grounds, granted ANA’s motion for sanctions, and ordered Kyowa to pay the costs and reasonable attorney’s fees that ANA incurred in its defense of the action.
In reaching its decision, the Court endorsed ANA’s position that it was not subject to general jurisdiction in New York merely because it had registered to do business in the State. The Court also ruled that it lacked specific jurisdiction over ANA because Kyowa had failed to allege a sufficient nexus between its claims and New York, and the alleged misconduct took place in Japan.
In its motion to dismiss, ANA raised several other grounds for dismissal, including res judicata, the statute of limitations, forum non conveniens, and failure to state a claim. The Court opined that those grounds were “equally meritorious.”
Finally, in granting ANA’s motion for sanctions, the Court ruled that Kyowa’s claims were “meritless and without a good faith basis,” and determined that there was “simply no basis for a New York court to assert jurisdiction over a dispute between Japanese entities, a dispute which has no specific connection to New York or its citizens. Moreover, Kyowa commenced this second litigation in New York even though the dispute was already fully litigated in Japan.”