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In 'Unusual Procedure,' Mexican Tomato Exporter Asks CAFC to Stay Case Pending Rulings at Lower Court

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit should stay a case concerning an antidumping duty investigation after the termination of a suspension agreement on tomatoes from Mexico while two related cases are being considered at the lower court, Mexican exporter Bioparques de Occidente said in an Aug. 8 motion to stay (Bioparques de Occidente, S.A. de C.V., et al. v. U.S., Fed. Cir. # 23-2109).

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The case is part of a consolidated action that combined three cases, all of which asserted the same claims but on separate jurisdictional grounds. Before consolidation, two of the actions asserted jurisdiction under Section 1581(c), while the current case claimed 1581(i) jurisdiction, the Court of International Trade's "residual" jurisdiction. After the actions were consolidated, CIT found that it had jurisdiction over all but one of Bioparques's claims under Section 1581(c), and that the remaining item failed to state a claim upon which relief could be granted. The trade court concluded that its residual jurisdiction did not apply and it severed and dismissed that action, which Bioparques appealed to the Federal Circuit, beginning this case (see 2307010002).

Bioparques noted the "unusual procedural status" of its own appeal but said it believes judicial efficiency and the resources of the parties would be best served by staying the case until CIT issues its final decisions on the related issues. Bioparques claimed that if the trade court's rulings on jurisdiction in the two other actions were ultimately appealed, the resulting appellate court cases would not be bound by CIT’s decision that it does not have jurisdiction over those other actions. The company brought the appeal to preserve its ability to assert jurisdiction under 1581(i) if the Federal Circuit finds that the trade court does not have 1581(c) jurisdiction over claims now being considered, the brief said.

Bioparques argued the appellate court has previously found that the power to stay proceedings is minor when compared with the ability of courts to control their own dockets, and asked the court to exercise that power to stay proceedings until CIT issues final decisions.