On April 13, 2021, the U.S. Court of International Trade (CIT) issued a Scheduling Order in response to the joint status report filed the previous day by the plaintiffs and U.S. government defendants in the ongoing litigation involving more than 3,700 complaints challenging the legality of duties implemented on certain imports from China pursuant to Section 301 of the Trade Act of 1974. The report addressed the briefing schedule for the sample case selected by the CIT, HMTX Industries LLC, et al. v. United States, et al., and issues requiring early case management intervention.

The status report makes clear that the parties continue to strongly disagree on the issue of interim relief for liquidated entries of duties already paid under Section 301. The government defendants argue that any liquidated entries have “become final and conclusive” and that relief is not available even if the plaintiffs ultimately prevail in this litigation. The plaintiffs continue to argue that recent court decisions support the availability of such refunds. Because the parties cannot agree on the interim relief issue, the plaintiffs stated in the joint status report that they will seek expedited resolution from the CIT as to the availability of refunds for liquidated entries and plan to file by April 22 a motion in the sample case seeking (1) a declaratory judgment of the CIT’s authority to order such refunds if the plaintiffs prevail on the merits and, in the alternative, (2) a preliminary injunction limited to suspending the liquidation of unliquidated entries pending a final judgment in the litigation.

The chart below identifies key dates in the litigation: