The 5th Circuit affirmed the district court’s finding that a foreign bank does not subject itself to jurisdiction in the US when the bank has no physical presence, does not conduct business in the US and the contract underlying the lawsuit was not signed in the US nor require performance here. In Monkton Ins. Servs., Ltd. v. Ritter, 768 F. 3d 429 (5th Cir. 2014), a Cayman Bank, incorporated in the Cayman Islands, entered into a contract with a Cayman company and not a Texas resident. The contract at issue was performed in the Cayman Islands. The communications between and the wire transfers facilitated by the bank were initiated by the defendant, not the Cayman bank. The Cayman bank’s website shows it conducts business with, not in, Texas.
The 5th Circuit found that the bank’s contacts with Texas were not “continuous and systematic.” Further, the bank did not purposely avail itself of the benefits and protections of Texas law. The district court did not have personal jurisdiction over the foreign bank.
Thus, a foreign bank must have more continuous and systematic contacts with the US and have purposely demonstrated an intent to do business in the US to be subject to a US court’s jurisdiction.