Showing posts from April, 2021

Depositions in the Time of COVID-19

Can the United States Government compel a witness to appear in person for a deposition in the midst of a pandemic? Not according to the U.S. Court of International Trade in the ongoing tussle known as United States v. Greenlight Organics . We have previously addressed aspects of this case here , here , here , and even  here . After the Government demanded a deposition to be held at the U.S. Custom House in San Francisco and following appropriate COVID protocols, the witnesses objected. The objection resulted in a motion for a protective order, which is the vehicle by which a Court is asked to limit discovery. The Government argued that an in-person deposition was necessary so that the witness could be shown documents. Apparently, the DOJ lawyers have not spent the past year sharing screens in Teams meetings. Citing CDC guidance and common sense, the court found that requiring witnesses to travel to San Francisco would risk the health of the witnesses in an era when videoconferencing ha

232 on Derivatives Invalid, Likely Headed for Court of Appeals

The Court of International Trade on April 5 invalidated tariffs on derivate steel and aluminum products that the Trump Administration had imposed under Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962. The  decision comes in PrimeSource Building Products, Inc. v. United States .  The tariffs followed the initial round of tariffs on steel and aluminum in primary forms that were imposed (allegedly) to protect the national security in light of excess global capacity and low capacity utilization in the U.S.  The issue in the case was whether the subsequent extension of the tariffs to nails, staples, and other “derivative” products was done consistent with the statutory requirements, specifically the 105-day time limit baked into Section 232. The Presidential Proclamation extending 232 duties to derivative products occurred outside that time without a new recommendation from Commerce to restart the clock. The Court had previously denied the Government’s motion to dismiss on this issue and al