FMC ALLOWS OTI GROUPSÆ BRIEFS ON SEA-LAND CASE
The U.S. Federal Maritime Commission has issued an order allowing four ocean transportation intermediary groups to file “amicus curiae” briefs in support of Sea-Land Service Inc., in a case pending before the FMC.
In doing so, the FMC has overruled both past commission case law and a request from its own Bureau of Enforcement that the four supporting briefs not be filed.
The FMC said it would retain authority to allow or deny filing of such briefs, but will allow more frequent filing of them.
The four groups who had asked for leeway to file ‘amicus curiae’ briefs on behalf of Sea-Land are the National Customs Brokers and Forwarders Association, the Transportation Intermediaries Association, the National Industrial Transportation League and the NVOCC-Government Affairs Committee.
The FMC started an investigation on April 24, 1998, to determine whether Sea-Land had violated the Shipping Act of 1984, and whether fines and other penalties should be levied. On March 5, 2002, an administrative law judge found numerous violations.
On Jan. 30, the administrative law judge issued an order imposing $4.1 million in civil penalties against Sea-Land. On March 24, both Sea-Land and the Bureau of Enforcement filed exceptions to the judge’s decision.
The FMC has extended the filing deadline for this case to May 5.