Noriega v. US
A truck owned and operated by CBP ran into a golf cart and injured Mr. Noriega. Mr. Noriega filed an administrative claim against CBP, which CBP rejected. Mr. Noriega sued CBP in the federal district court, but the court determined that the Mr. Noriega failed to meet the deadlines for filing an administrative claim or a lawsuit under the Federal Tort Claims Act.
La Nica Product v. US
La Nica claimed preferential treatment for three shipments under Dominican Republic-Central America-United States Free Trade Agreement (DR-CAFTA) and listed itself as the importer of record, but then filed a Post-Entry Amendment (PEA) claiming that it sold the shipments on route to the USA and prior to entry to a US purchaser. When La Nica failed to produce documents to support its DR-CAFTA claim, CBP rejected the PEA, and La Nica filed a protest, which CBP also rejected. La Nica sued CBP but acknowledged it was not the importer of record after all. The court denied La Nica’s lawsuit on that ground.
US v Colabella
CBP detained and then seized two shipments of sunglasses from China. After the manufacturers confirmed that these sunglasses were counterfeit, CBP sent a seizure/forfeiture notice to Mr. Colabella but Mr. Colabella never responded. The shipment was forfeited. CBP then issued a $132,000 penalty against Mr. Colabella, which Mr. Colabella refused to pay. CBP, through the US Department of Justice, sued to collect a mitigated amount of the penalty and then moved for summary judgment. The court rejected the Government’s motion because Mr. Colabella tendered an affidavit claiming that the shipment was not his and that he knew nothing of its contents.
XYZ Corporation vs. US/CBP
Duracell asked CBP to give it gray market protection against anyone trying to import certain batteries that Duracell sold overseas. CBP granted the application and banned the importation of certain Duracell batteries. The XYZ Corporation asked the court to enjoin CBP from enforcing the band, claiming that, except for the labels, the batteries that it intended to import were exactly the same as the batteries Duracell sold. The court rejected XYZ Corporation’s request, but allowed it to replead and rephrase its request and held out the possibility that an injunction was possible.
US vs International Trading Service
CBP, or rather the US Government, sued an importer to collect a $1 million penalty for misclassifying eight shipments of sugar. The importer had chosen a tariff classification that excepted the sugar from an import quota that was in place. The court entered judgment in favor of CBP and against the importer and did not mitigate the penalty even though the importer had used a customs broker.
Union Pacific Railroad vs. Pactrans Air & Sea
The importer sued its logistics provider for failing to refund $5.8 million that the importer had delivered to the logistics provider. In an ongoing relationship, the logistics provider would use the money from the importer to pay antidumping duties and for other customs services. In the latest shipment, the importer delivered $5.8 million to the logistics provider to pay antidumping duties, but before the logistics provider used the money to pay CBP, the International Trade Commission notified the importer that it did not owe antidumping duties after all. When the importer asked the logistics provider to refund its $5.8 million, the logistics provider did not deny it owed the money, but said that it was unable to pay it back. The logistics provider did not appear to fear a judgment against it if the judgment was contractual, but only if it was a tort, i.e., if it was a breach of the fiduciary duty. So when the importer sued, the logistics provider claimed that the relationship was purely contractual. The court disagreed. The logistics provider was working under the power of attorney from the importer and thereby obligated the logistics provider to act as a fiduciary on its principal’s behalf.