Eastalco Aluminum Co. v. United States

995 F.2d 201 (1993)

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Eastalco Aluminum Co. v. United States

United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit
995 F.2d 201 (1993)

Facts

In 1983, Eastalco Aluminum Company and other aluminum manufacturers (Eastalco) (plaintiffs) filed summonses before the Court of International Trade seeking to challenge the classification by the United States Customs Service (customs) (defendant) of certain imported refractory bricks used for aluminum manufacturing. Because the summonses related to the classification of the same imports, once Eastalco filed a complaint involving two of the filed summonses, Eastalco and customs agreed to place the remainder summonses on the court’s suspension calendar pending resolution of the test case. Because those cases were suspended, no complaints were filed by Eastalco, and no answers were filed by customs. Customs then filed a counterclaim arguing that the bricks should have been classified under a different tariff classification subject to a higher tariff duty than the classification initially given by customs. In 1989, the court entered judgment in the test case for customs granting customs’ counterclaim. Customs then filed a motion asking the court to remove the remaining summonses from the suspension calendar, grant customs leave to file the same counterclaim as in the test case, and prevent Eastalco from voluntarily dismissing the cases. Customs argued that the relief it requested was necessary because it was prevented from filing countersuits on the suspended cases by nature of their placement in the suspension calendar and the fact that no pleadings had been filed in those cases. The court granted customs’ motion, and Eastalco appealed.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Archer, J.)

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