SUPREME COURT REFUSES TO HEAR ATMI, LIMITED TRANSSHIPPING CASE

Byline: Joanna Ramey

WASHINGTON — The American Textile Manufacturers Institute’s legal pursuit of The Limited over transshipping allegations ended Monday with the U.S. Supreme Court declining to hear the case.
Two U.S. District Court judges and a Court of Appeals judge previously ruled in The Limited’s favor. The ATMI brought the action under the federal False Claims Act, alleging the Columbus, Ohio-based retailer filed false Customs records claiming certain apparel imports originated in Hong Kong when they actually were produced in China.
The lower court judges ruled the False Claims Act doesn’t apply in the case since the ATMI sought to prove The Limited wanted to avoid quota limitations, not duties. Allegations of duty-shirking, however, could be brought under the act, according to the lower courts.
As is customary, in rejecting the case, the Supreme Court offered no comment.
For their part, Limited officials “are gratified by this ruling,” said Sam Fried, senior vice president and general counsel for the chain, in a statement.
Throughout the case, The Limited has maintained that it follows all customs regulations and denied any wrongdoing.
Carlos Moore, ATMI’s executive vice president, said association officials are disappointed by the Supreme Court’s lack of action. He said the federal court system wrongly limits the use of the False Claims Act in transshipment cases. ATMI also plans to pursue it further.