Justia Insurance Law Opinion Summaries

Articles Posted in International Trade
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AHAC, a surety, secured importers’ importation of preserved mushrooms and crawfish tail meat from China by issuing single transaction and continuous entry bonds in 2001 and 2002. The bonds obligated the importers and AHAC to pay, up to the face amounts of the bonds, “any duty, tax or charge and compliance with law or regulations” resulting from covered activities. Customs liquidated entries secured by the bonds and assessed antidumping duties, which the importers failed to pay. Customs started charging statutory post-liquidation interest on the unpaid duties, 19 U.S.C. 1505(d). From 2003-2009, Customs issued multiple demands notifying AHAC of its intent to seek section 1505(d) interest. Customs denied AHAC’s protest. AHAC did not challenge that denial under 28 U.S.C. 1581(a). The government commenced Trade Court suits. The Federal Circuit affirmed the Trade Court’s order that AHAC pay section 1505(d) interest up to the face amounts of the bonds. Section 1505(d) interest involves “charges or exactions of whatever character” under 19 U.S.C. 1514(a)(3); the statute does not exempt charges arising after liquidation. The bonds do not distinguish between pre- and post-liquidation interest. Because AHAC failed to contest its denied protest, AHAC was precluded from asserting defenses regarding its liability under section 1505(d). View "United States v. American Home Assurance Co." on Justia Law

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Between July 30, 2003, and August 31, 2003, Sunline imported eight entries of freshwater crawfish tailmeat from Chinese producer Hubei, which were subject to a U.S. Department of Commerce antidumping duty order covering freshwater crawfish tailmeat from China. The Hubei Entries were entered following approval by Customs of eight single-entry bonds that covered the estimated antidumping duties and designated Hartford as surety. The Hubei Entries were made during the pendency of Hubei’s “new shipper review.” After Hubei’s new shipper review was rescinded, meaning Hubei did not qualify for an individual antidumping duty rate, Customs liquidated the Entries at the 223.01% country-wide rate. After Sunline failed to pay, Customs demanded payment from Hartford, which filed a complaint at the Court of International Trade, seeking to void its obligations under the bonds because Customs had been investigating Sunline for possible import law violations during the period in which the bonds were secured and did not inform Hartford of the investigation. The Trade Court dismissed. The Federal Circuit affirmed. Hartford did not allege any facts that establish a connection between the investigation and Sunline’s failure to pay its antidumping duties after liquidation. View "Hartford Fire Ins. Co. v. United States" on Justia Law

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In 1997, the U.S. Department of Commerce determined, under 19 U.S.C. 1673b, that freshwater crawfish tail meat from China was being sold in the U.S. at less than fair value and directed Customs to suspend final computation of duties on such entries and to require a deposit or bond to cover estimated duties. In 2000-2001, New Phoenix made entries of the product. The exporters were subject to “new shipper” review to determine whether they were entitled to antidumping-duty rates distinct from the default rate. Each of five bonds issued by Great American to cover anticipated duties was for $1,219,458 and was signed by Davis and accepted by the government, although the power-of-attorney filed with Customs indicated a limit of $1 million on his authority. Great American later revoked his authority. In 2003, Commerce published final results, finding that the exporter was not entitled to a different rate and sought payment from New Phoenix and Great American. The amount owed is greater than the amounts of the bonds. The trial court granted the government summary judgment, without pre- and post-judgment interest, finding that the government did not timely address those issues. The Federal Circuit affirmed that the bonds were not enforceable beyond Davis’s stated authority and the denial of pre-judgment interest View "United States v. Great Am. Ins. Co" on Justia Law

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This action arose from practices employed in connection with the handling of claims made under retrocessional reinsurance treaties providing what was known as "non-life" coverage. At issue was the sufficiency and extra-territorial reach of plaintiff's claim under New York State's antitrust statute (Donnelly Act), General Business Law 340 et seq. Plaintiff, a New York branch of a German reinsurance corporation, sued defendants, English based entities engaged in the business of providing retrocessionary reinsurance. The Appellate Division found that the complaint adequately pled a worldwide market. And, while acknowledging that the crucial allegations contained in paragraph 36 of the amended pleading did not separately allege market power, the allegations read together and liberally construed were adequate to that purpose. The Appellate Division granted plaintiff leave to appeal, certifying to the court the question of whether its order reversing the order of Supreme Court was properly made. The court answered in the negative and reversed. Even if the pleading deficiency at issue could be cured and the court perceived no reason to suppose that the formidable hurdle of alleging market power could be surmounted by plaintiff there would remain as an immovable obstacle to the action's maintenance, the circumstance that the Donnelly Act could not be understood to extend to the foreign conspiracy plaintiff purported to described.

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SLM appealed the district court's grant of summary judgment in favor of IFIC, a surety, against SLM, the principal on a bond pursuant to which IFIC paid Customs import duties assessed against SLM. The court held that the district court had jurisdiction to adjudicate IFIC's claims against SLM; exclusive jurisdiction over these claims did not lie in the Court of International Trade (CIT). The court also held that the district court did not abuse its discretion in refusing to dismiss or abate IFIC's action until the proceedings in the CIT have concluded. With regard to the merits of IFIC's claims against SLM, the court affirmed the district court's grant of summary judgment in favor of IFIC, concluding that SLM was required to pay IFIC the amounts that IFIC had paid to Customs pursuant to its bond obligations.

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Federal Insurance Company (FIC) sued for damage to property destroyed during the inland leg of international intermodal carriage where FIC was the subrogee of the shipper which contracted with an ocean carrier, APL Co. Ptc. Ltd. (APL), to ship goods from Singapore to Alabama. The district court ruled that a covenant not to sue in the through bill of lading required FIC to sue the carrier, APL, rather than the subcontractor. At issue was what legal regime applied to the shipment's inland leg under the through bill of lading and whether the applicable legal regime prohibited the covenant not to sue. The court held that the district court did not err by enforcing the covenant not to sue and granting summary judgment to the subcontractor where the requirements that FIC sue APL directly was valid under the Hague Rules and the Carriage of Goods by Sea Act (COGSA), 46 U.S.C. 30701.