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You may remember back on 2008 when George W. Bush released a statement of the Government's intention to assist automakers in the midst of the economic downturn. As a result of the government assistance, two groups of former General Motors Corporation ("GM") and Chrysler LLC ("Chrysler") car dealers, whose franchises were terminated as a result of the bankruptcies, sued the Government alleging regulatory takings.

The Government's Financial Assistance

The franchise dealers have state and federal laws to protect them from terminations that are not available to them in bankruptcy proceedings. In reviewing GM and Chrysler's viability proposals, the Government specifically noted that the dealer terminations were not happening fast enough to maintain viability, and suggested bankruptcy, which the companies accepted.

Last week, the Federal Circuit granted a petition for a rehearing en banc, in a case that brings up interesting issues of individual, and corporate, liability. Harish Shadadpuri is the president and only shareholder of Trek Leather, Inc., a company that imported men's suits. Mercantile Electronics, LLC ("ME") was the consignee of the suits, and Shadadpuri also happens to own 40% of ME's shares.

Failure to "Assist"

Under 19 U.S.C. § 1401a, an "assist" includes materials, an item that Shadadpuri failed to include on customs documentation, with the result of lowering the amount of duties paid. When brought to his attention in 2002, Shadadpuri paid the unpaid duties, and Customs officials did not pursue an action against him personally.

In the latest battle of the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States ("HTSUS"), Link Snacks, Inc. goes up against the U.S. as the two battle over the very meaning of ... beef jerky products.

What Is Beef Jerky Anyway?

Link Snacks, Inc. imports beef jerky products from New Zealand and Brazil. I've always stayed away from beef jerky because it looks nothing like beef -- but now that I understand the process, I understand why it looks that way, though I will still never eat it (barring unforeseen natural disasters that would necessitate the eating of beef jerky for survival).

The process goes something like this: the beef is sliced, cured for 24 to 48 hours, and then cooked/smoked for three-to six hours, which results in dehydrated meat. (Ew).

Rails to Trails Challenge Subject to Accrual Suspension Rule

A group of landowners in southern Arizona have been arguing for years that a Rails to Trails plan for a right of way on their property constituted a taking. So far, that litigation has enjoyed two tours through the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals.

This week, the appellate court ruled in its second opinion in the matter that the landowners can keep pushing their takings claims under the accrual suspension rule, despite the government’s claims that the action is time-barred.

Jerry McGuire v. U.S.: You Had Me at 'Regulatory Taking'

Occasionally, we get excited when perusing federal appeals because one of the litigants has a famous name. That excitement has manifested itself in posts about Joe the Plumber and David Bowie. (Not that David Bowie.)

So you can imagine our delight upon discovering a Federal Circuit appellant named Jerry McGuire. Even if his surname was spelled differently than the titular movie character.

Jerry McGuire leased a plot of farmland in Arizona from the Colorado River Indian Tribes (CRIT) with the approval of the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA). He planned to raise alfalfa on the land. McGuire's alfalfa dreams were dashed thanks to a BIA-owned bridge.

Navajo Nation v. U.S., 10-5036

Indian Tribe's Fifth Amendment Taking Claim

Navajo Nation v. U.S., 10-5036, concerned a challenge to the district court's dismissal of the complaint in concluding that plaintiff did not have the requisite property interest to establish a valid takings action, in an Indian Tribe's suit seeking damages for an alleged Fifth Amendment taking of its right to develop land granted to it by the United States in 1934.


Ladd v. US, 10-5010

Compensable taking claim against the United States

Ladd v. US, 10-5010, concerned a challenge to an order of the Court of Federal Claims granting summary judgment that no compensable taking occurred when the Department of Transportation's Surface Transportation Board (STB) issued a Notice of Interim Trail Use or Abandonment (NITU) concerning an easement over plaintiff's land.

CRV Enter., Inc. v. US, 09-5100

Takings claims against the United States

CRV Enter., Inc. v. US, 09-5100, concerned a challenge to the Claims Court's judgment against the plaintiffs, in their suit against the United States, claiming that the government had taken plaintiffs' private property without just compensation by erecting a log boom that prevents plaintiffs from utilizing a slough adjacent to their property.

 

Today, the Federal Circuit decided a patent infringement case and another involving an action against the United States for breach of fiduciary duty relating to the government's distribution of revenue derived from an Indian reservation.

In Richardson v. Stanley Works, Inc., No. 09-1354, the court faced a challenge to the district court's finding of noninfringement relating to a design patent for a multi-function carpentry tool that combines a hammer with another tool.  In affirming the decision, the court held that the district court correctly construed the claims at issue and correctly determined that the patent was not infringed. 

In Hoopa Valley Tribe v. US., No. 09-5084, the court faced a challenge to the Court of Federal Claims' entry of judgment in favor of the government on the ground that the plaintiff lacked standing to challenge the distribution of trust funds to the Yurok Tribe, from the Settlement Fund that was established under the Hoopa-Yurok Settlement Act. 

As stated in the decision: "The Hoopa Valley Tribe waived any claim against the government arising from the Act, received its share of the Settlement Fund, and retained no entitlement to the remainder in the Settlement Fund.  As such, at the time DOI distributed the remainder to the Yurok Trine, the Hoopa Valley Tribe was not a beneficiary of, and had no legally protected interest in, the Settlement Fund.

Thus, the court affirmed the decision of the Court of Federal Claims and held that the plaintiff lacked standing because it cannot show an injury in fact.

Related Resources:

 

 

E. Shawnee Tribe of Oklahoma v. US, No. 08-5102

In Indian tribe's suit against the United States alleging breach of fiduciary duty and other duties as trustee of property and other assets owned by the tribe, Court of Federal Claims' dismissal of the case without prejudice is reversed and remanded as 28 U.S.C. section 1500 is inapplicable because the present complaint and an earlier complaint filed in a district court seek different relief. 

Read E. Shawnee Tribe of Oklahoma v. US, No. 08-5102

Appellate Information

Appeal from:  United States Court of Federal Claims

Decided September 17, 2009

Judges

Before Gajarsa, Dyk, and Moore, Circuit Judges. 
Opinion by Dyk, Circuit Judge.   

Counsel

For Appellant:  Brian J. Leinbach, Engstrom, Lipscomb & Lack, of Los Angeles, California

For Appellee:  Aaron P. Avila, Trial Attorney, Environment and Natural Resource Division, United States Department of Justice, of Washington, DC