Banco Frances E. Brasileiro v. John Doe

36 N.Y.2d 592, 370 N.Y.S.2d 534, 331 N.E.2d 502 (1975)

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Banco Frances E. Brasileiro v. John Doe

New York Court of Appeals
36 N.Y.2d 592, 370 N.Y.S.2d 534, 331 N.E.2d 502 (1975)

Facts

Banco Frances E. Brasileiro, S.A. (Brasileiro) (plaintiff), a private foreign bank, relied on a series of fraudulent applications made by 20 John Does (defendants). As a result, Brasileiro wrongly exchanged Brazilian cruzeiros into travelers checks worth about $1 million in United States dollars. Two of the John Does deposited a substantial amount of the checks into accounts with other New York financial firms. Brasileiro won a tort action for fraud against the John Does, and the accounts at the New York financial firms were attached. The first appellate court dismissed Brasileiro’s tort complaint and denied relief on grounds that New York courts could not hear an action arising from a tort related to violation of foreign currency restrictions. The holding relied on an earlier case interpreting the Bretton Woods Agreement (Bretton Woods). In the earlier case, a New York appellate court ruled that a court may not allow a foreign government bank to sue for damages in tort for violations of its foreign currency rules related to exports of coffee with fraudulent documentation. Brasileiro appealed the dismissal of its complaint.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Jasen, J.)

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