Becerra Law, P.A. gets Auto Parts Importer’s Parts Back from U.S. Customs After Seizure in Jacksonville

Becerra Law, P.A. gets Auto Parts Importer’s Parts Back from U.S. Customs After Seizure in Jacksonville

Becerra Law filed Complaint for Return of Property in Federal Court  

Robert J. Becerra, B.C.S.

MIAMIJune 27, 2017In mid-2016, AMG Trade & Distribution LLC (“AMG”) of Pompano Beach, Florida had a full container load of approximately 10,800 genuine Nissan auto parts seized by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (“CBP”) upon importation at the Port of Jacksonville, Florida. AMG filed a claim and cost bond in order to have CBP immediately commence judicial forfeiture proceedings in order to challenge the seizure, which CBP based on the auto parts allegedly being counterfeit. AMG knew the parts were genuine, as it had purchased them from an authorized Nissan distributor in the nation of Oman. CBP had apparently seized the parts on the representation by the trademark holder that they were counterfeit parts, when clearly the parts were genuine “grey market” Nissan parts, acquired at a discount from the Nissan Omani distributor, but which legally can be sold in the United States.

 However, instead of immediately commencing judicial forfeiture proceedings, CBP sat on the seizure for six months without taking any action, all the while AMG was deprived of its genuine auto parts, along with the funds it had used to pay for them. At wits end, AMG then hired Becerra Law in January, 2017 to assist its Customs counsel to get the parts back from the Government.

Becerra Law filed a Complaint for Return of Property on behalf of AMG in federal court against CBP and the federal government, stating that the deprivation of AMG’s property was unconstitutional in that it deprived AMG of its property without due process of law.  This strategy was vindicated, as the federal government settled with AMG, prior to even filing a response to AMG’s lawsuit, returning each and every part seized back to AMG by May, 2017. AMG believes this result was just and proper, since the parts were not counterfeit, but genuine Nissan parts, which the manufacturer apparently did not want distributed through “grey market” channels and therefore enlisted CBP to seize them based on the spurious claim that the parts were counterfeit.

Robert J. Becerra of Becerra Law, P.A. is a Florida Bar Board Certified Expert in International Law. His practice includes civil and criminal litigation involving international trade, representing exporters, importers and logistics providers in international trade disputes and actions involving governmental entities.