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Importer Seeks Case Reinstatement After Four Deadline Extensions, Dismissal

Importer Fit for Life sought reinstatement of its customs challenge Feb. 2 after it was dismissed that same day due to lack of prosecution (Fit for Life LLC v. U.S., CIT #20-00006).

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Fit for Life filed its original summons to the U.S. in 2020; it submitted another summons at the same time for a different case on the same issue, for which it provided its complaint Jan. 30 of this year (see 2402020032). The company received four deadline extensions for each summons, and didn't submit a complaint in time for the one that was dismissed.

In its motion to reverse dismissal, Fit for Life said the deadline was missed due to "an honest human error."

"In managing the case deadlines in the firm’s internal docketing system, an incorrect date was mistakenly entered for this case," it said. "The date was entered as February 6, 2024, rather than February 1, 2024. This error was likely caused by the similarity of the incorrect date to the case number in this case (20-00006)."

It asked that this case be suspended and the other case, the one for which it filed its Jan. 30 complaint, be made lead case for Fit For Life.

It said that it believes it demonstrates good cause for having the case reinstated. Reversing dismissal won't prejudice the defendants, it said, because this case is "identical in all material respects" to the one for which it filed its Jan. 30 complaint. It also said the one-day lapse means "no significant judicial resources will be required to preserve the claims made in this case."

"On February 2, 2024, counsel for Defendant, Justin R. Miller, Esq., provided the position of defendant with respect to this motion stating that 'the Government defers to the discretion of the Court as to whether relief should be granted, but notes that the Government will not be prejudiced by the Court returning the case to the Customs Case Management Calendar,'" it said.

In both cases, the company has sought to contest CBP’s classification of its balance ball chairs, yoga balls seated in a chair frame, as exercise equipment under Harmonized Tariff Schedule heading 9506 (see 2402010049). It argued in its summons the chairs were instead furniture under heading 9401, which carries no duties.