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This article will discuss developments in long-arm jurisdiction under CPLR section 302(a)(1)1 and analyze the recent New York State Court of Appeals‘s thoughtful and instructive decision in Licci ex rel. Licci v. Lebanese Canadian Bank, SAL. Licci decided the question of whether a non-domiciliary‘s maintenance of a bank account in New York constituted a “transaction of business” out of which the plaintiff‘s claims arose under the state‘s long-arm statute. The Licci plaintiffs had alleged that the defendant funded a terrorist organization responsible for the injuries and deaths of certain plaintiffs and decedents they represented. The Licci opinion did not decide if New York had jurisdiction over the defendant but analyzed a certified question from the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit regarding whether there was a statutory basis for personal jurisdiction over the defendant.

In Licci, the Empire State‘s highest court answered the Second Circuit‘s question in the affirmative, expansively defining the “transaction of business” clause under CPLR section 302(a)(1) and extending the jurisdictional reach of the long-arm statute‘s arising out of‖ provision. The Licci opinion is a broad and pragmatic statutory interpretation of CPLR section 302(a)(1) by the Court of Appeals. It signals the court‘s willingness to apply the state‘s long-arm statute as its drafters intended, clarifies prior jurisprudential entanglement of statutory and constitutional issues, and is welcome news for the plaintiff‘s bar.