Justia Energy, Oil & Gas Law Opinion Summaries

Articles Posted in International Trade
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The defendant companies, based in China, produce conventional solar energy panels. Energy Conversion and other American manufacturers produce the newer thin-film panels. The Chinese producers sought greater market shares. They agreed to export more products to the U.S. and to sell them below cost. Several entities supported their endeavor. Suppliers provided discounts, a trade association facilitated cooperation, and the Chinese government provided below-cost financing. From 2008-2011, the average selling prices of their panels fell over 60%. American manufacturers consulted the Department of Commerce, which found that the Chinese firms had harmed American industry through illegal dumping and assessed substantial tariffs. The American manufacturers continued to suffer; more than 20 , including Energy Conversion, filed for bankruptcy or closed. Energy Conversion sued under the Sherman Act, 15 U.S.C. 1, and Michigan law, seeking $3 billion in treble damages, claiming that the Chinese companies had unlawfully conspired “to sell Chinese manufactured solar panels at unreasonably low or below cost prices . . . to destroy an American industry.” Because this allegation did not state that the Chinese companies could or would recoup their losses by charging monopoly prices after driving competitors from the field, the court dismissed the claim. The Sixth Circuit affirmed. Without such an allegation or any willingness to prove a reasonable prospect of recoupment, the court correctly rejected the claim. View "Energy Conversion Devices Liquidation Trust v. Trina Solar Ltd." on Justia Law

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Shell imported petroleum products, 1993-1994, upon which custom duties, taxes, and other fees were paid. During the same period, Shell exported drawback-eligible substitute finished petroleum derivatives. In 1995-1996, substitution drawback claims were filed with the U.S. Customs and Border Protection on Shell’s behalf. Generally, Customs provides a drawback of 99% of any duty, tax, or fee imposed under federal law upon entry or importation if the merchandise (or a commercially interchangeable substitute) is subsequently exported or destroyed under Customs supervision and not used within the U.S. before exportation or destruction, 19 U.S.C. 1313(j),(p). Drawback claims must be filed within three years of exportation. During the time of Shell’s imports, drawback eligibility of Harbor Maintenance Tax and Environmental Tax payments, which Shell now seeks, were heavily disputed. Shell was found not to have included an express request for HMT and ET in the “net claim” figure. In 1997, after the three-year period for the filing of drawback claims had expired Shell filed protests with Customs, seeking drawback as to HMT and ET payments. Customs denied Shell’s protests. The Court of International Trade found the claims time-barred. The Federal Circuit affirmed, holding that 1999 and 2004 statutory amendments did not change Shell’s position. View "Shell Oil Co. v. United States" on Justia Law

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On GE’s complaint, the International Trade Commission conducted an investigation and, rejecting the findings of an ALJ determined that GE's 039 patent was not invalid by reason of obviousness or written description, that variable speed wind turbines imported by Mitsubishi do not infringe any of GE's patents, and that the domestic industry requirement is not met as to any of the patents. The Commission concluded that the Tariff Act, 19 U.S.C. 1337, was not violated. The 039 patent subsequently expired. The Federal Circuit affirmed that the 221 patent is not infringed, but reversed the determination of no domestic industry as to the 985 patent, and remanded. View "Gen. Elec. Co. v. Int'l Trade Comm'n" on Justia Law

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Following about 30 years of oil extraction in the Ecuadorian Amazon, Ecuadorians brought a variety of claims against the company and obtained judgment in Ecuador. Chevron, a potential judgment-debtor, brought action under New York’s Uniform Foreign Country Money-Judgments Recognition Act, N.Y. C.P.L.R. 5301-5309, which allows judgment-creditors to enforce foreign judgments in New York courts, seeking a global anti-enforcement injunction against the Ecuadorians and their attorney to prohibit attempts to enforce the allegedly-fraudulent judgment entered by the Ecuadorian court. The district court granted the injunction. The Second Circuit reversed, vacating the injunction. The Recognition Act does not grant putative judgment-debtors a cause of action to challenge foreign judgments before enforcement of those judgments is sought. Judgment-debtors can challenge a foreign judgment’s validity under the Act only defensively, in response to an attempted enforcement.View "Chevron Corp. v. Donziger" on Justia Law