By virtue of the Customs Courts Act of 1980 (the "1980 Act"),' the U.S. Court of International Trade (the "CIT") was granted new and exclusive jurisdiction over certain actions commenced by the United States, including actions "'to recover upon a bond relating to the importation of merchandise." As a result of the 1980 legislation, the CIT became the new forum for suits instituted by the United States to collect liquidated damages which had been assessed by the U.S. Customs Service ("Customs") against, an importer and/or its surety for breach of the terms of an importation bond. This Article shall concentrate upon five of the claims and defenses considered by the CIT and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, and will include a discussion of several of the related unresolved issues that have recently emerged. The specific issues that will be focused upon are: 1. Whether the assessment of liquidated damages is a protestable decision within the meaning of 19 U.S.C. § 1514(a), and if so, whether the failure to protest within ninety days of the demand for damages precludes the challenging of the assessment of those damages as a defense to a collection suit by the U.S. government. 2. Whether the event that commences the running of the statute of limitations in suits to recover liquidated damages for breach of the bond is the date of the actual breach, or the date of the mailing of the demand for payment of the liquidated damages . 3. Whether liquidation of an entry affects the bond obligations of an importer and surety in a suit based upon failure to timely redeliver, export or destroy foodstuffs and/or motor vehicles. Whether liquidated damages assessed for breach of a bond function as a penalty for purposes of the statute of limita- tions and/or the awarding of prejudgment interest. 5. Whether prejudgment interest should ordinarily run from the date of the first demand for payment of the liquidated damages.
Barbara M. Epstein,
The Land of Liquidated Damages: Recent Judicial Decisions and Unresolved Issues,
14 Fordham Int'l L.J. 60
Available at: http://ir.lawnet.fordham.edu/ilj/vol14/iss1/5