The Firm filed a petition for a writ of certiorari with the Supreme Court of the United States on February 13, 2015, Harish Shadadpuri v. United States, No. 14-986, to review an en banc decision of the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals in a civil penalties case under the Tariff Act.
Shadadpuri seeks reversal of the judgment of the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals that he is jointly and severally liable for civil penalties and unpaid duties under 19 U.S.C. 1592 of the Tariff Act.
Petitioner Shadadpuri was president and sole shareholder of Trek Leather, Inc., the importer of record for 72 entries of men's suits into the United States. The US sued Trek and Shadadpuri jointly and severally for civil penalties for fraud, gross negligence, and negligence for failure to include so-called "assists" to the foreign manufacturers, resulting in unpaid duties. The government sought more than $2.3 million in penalties plus unpaid duties of $45,245.39.
The importer Trek and Petitioner Shadadpuri were found jointly and severally liable for civil penalties of $545,420.32 plus the unpaid duties for gross negligence for violation of the Tariff Act, 19 U.S.C. 1592, in the US Court of International Trade.
Shadadpuri appealed and a panel of the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals reversed in his favor, holding that he could not be liable because he was not the importer of record and the government had not claimed that he had "aided or abetted" Trek's violation and had not sought to pierce the corporate veil of Trek.
The government requested rehearing en banc and the full Federal Circuit vacated the panel decision in favor of Shadadpuri. The full court held that he was jointly and severally liable for having "introduce[ed] the suits, even though Trek was the importer and had formally "entered" the goods with Customs. The government had not sought to impose liability on Shadadpuri for "aiding or abetting" Trek's violations under a different provision of the statute and had not sought to pierce the corporate veil of Trek in order to impose liability on Shadadpuri directly.
Shadadpuri's petition for certiorari asks the Supreme Court to review the Federal Circuit's en banc decision because it construed the Tariff Act incorrectly and its broad interpretation will potentially impose much greater liability on shareholders, officers, and employees of corporate importers than Congress intended in the statute as revised in 1978.
Contact the Firm if you need additional information or are interested in supporting Shadadpuri's petition for a writ of certiorari with an amicus brief in the Supreme Court.