Jaramillo Spices Corp. v. United States
by: Choe-Groves

Section: Federal Circuit and CIT Case Summaries

The CIT dismissed Plaintiff’s challenge to CBPs assessment of liquidated damages for lack of jurisdiction. Jaramillo was assessed liquidated damages for failure to redeliver to CBP’s custody a shipment of tamarind imported from Mexico and determined to by the Food and Drug Administration to be adulterated. Jaramillo submitted two filings, which CBP construed as a petition and supplemental petition for mitigation, respectively; both were denied. The Court found (a) jurisdiction to be inappropriate because (setting aside whether CBP’s denial of Jaramillo’s requests for mitigation constituted denials of a protest) that denial occurred more than 180 days before Jaramillo instituted its action at the CIT. The Court further concluded that to be considered a protestable decision giving rise to (a) jurisdiction, the decision must be made by Customs. Here, the Court found that “[i]f Customs merely was effectuating a decision of the FDA to refuse admission, under which Customs lacked discretion over whether to issue a notice for redelivery, then the redelivery demand was not a protestable decision, and the court would lack jurisdiction even had plaintiff followed all procedural requirements for contesting a protest denial.”
The Court further declined to exercise (i) jurisdiction because § 1581(i)(1)(c) confers jurisdiction only pertaining to matters arising out of laws providing for “embargoes or other quantitative restrictions on the importation of merchandise for reasons other than the protection of the public health or safety”; the Court found FDA’s denial of admittance to be grounded in protection of public health and (i) jurisdiction therefore unavailable.