On August 4, 2017, ALJ Dee Lord issued Order No. 92 in Certain Carbon and Alloy Steel Products (Inv. No. 337-TA-1002).
By way of background, this investigation was based on a complaint filed by U.S. Steel alleging a violation of section 337 by numerous Chinese steel producers and distributors—as well as certain Hong Kong and U.S. affiliates—by reason of: (1) a conspiracy to fix prices and control output and export volumes, the threat or effect of which is to restrain or monopolize trade and commerce in the U.S.; (2) misappropriation and use of trade secrets, the threat or effect of which is to destroy or substantially injure an industry in the U.S.; and (3) false designation of origin of manufacturer, the threat or effect of which is to destroy or substantially injure an industry in the U.S. See our April 26, 2016, June 7, 2016, August 30, 2016, November 14, 2016, and March 20, 2017 posts for more details on this investigation.
According to the Order, ALJ Lord denied U.S. Steel’s motion for sanctions against the Masteel Respondents and the Shagang Respondents for an alleged failure to produce expert data as required by Order No. 61. More specifically, U.S. Steel argued in support of its motion that there was a failure to identify shipments of steel to certain countries. However, ALJ Lord disagreed and noted:
U.S. Steel's Motion attempts to parlay Order No. 61 into an adverse finding on liability through the Commission's rule on sanctions. 19 C.F.R. § 210.33. U.S. Steel's effort is disingenuous as well as wasteful. While Order No. 61 could be construed to leave room for uncertainty about the end date of Respondents' discovery obligations, such uncertainty could have been resolved easily by seeking clarification from the ALJ. A motion for sanctions is not an appropriate vehicle for seeking such clarification.
Accordingly, U.S. Steel's Motion for sanctions against the Respondents, Motion Docket No. 1002-80, is hereby DENIED. The end date for the discovery sought by U.S. Steel's RFP No. 34 is March 31, 2016. No further sanctions motions should be filed based on or related to Order No. 61. The parties should review carefully any pending motions seeking sanctions to determine whether they comply in letter and spirit with this order. If they do not, they should be withdrawn without delay.