On October 6, 2014, the United States Supreme Court denied petitions for writs of certiorari filed by Ashley Furniture Industries, Inc. (Ashley) and Ethan Allen Global, Inc. (Ethan Allen) after the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (Federal Circuit) denied their requests for distributions of antidumping duties under the Continued Dumping And Subsidy Offset Act (CDSOA), also known as the Byrd Amendment. The Supreme Court's decision is the first step toward concluding years of litigation related to the constitutionality and application of the CDSOA.
Congress enacted CDSOA in October 2000 as a way to provide additional relief to domestic producers that initiate or support a successful petition resulting in the imposition of an antidumping duty order. Under the CDSOA, the antidumping duties collected on imports entering the United States by Customs and Border Protection were distributed to "affected domestic producers," meaning any petitioner or interested party supporting a petition that resulted in the imposition of an antidumping duty order. Congress repealed the CDSOA in 2006, but it continued to apply to duties collected on imports that entered the United States prior to October 1, 2007.
In 2003, the U.S. Department of Commerce initiated an antidumping investigation of imports of wooden bedroom furniture from China, pursuant to a petition filed by the Furniture Manufacturers Committee for Legal Trade, a coalition of U.S. producers represented by King & Spalding. When responding to questionnaires issued by the U.S. International Trade Commission during the investigation, Ashley indicated that it opposed the petition, while Ethan Allen indicated that it took "no position" on the petition. Following the issuance of the antidumping order, duties imposed on imports of wooden bedroom furniture from China became available for distribution under the CDSOA. Because Ashley and Ethan Allen did not support the petition, both companies were determined to be ineligible to receive payments under the CDSOA. Ashley and Ethan Allen proceeded to file suit at the Court of International Trade challenging the constitutionality of the CDSOA because it limits distributions to petitioners and interested parties "in support of the petition." In 2012, the Court of International Trade granted motions to dismiss Ashley and Ethan Allen's cases in light of the Federal Circuit's decision inSKF USA, Inc. v. U.S. Customs and Border Prot., which upheld the constitutionality of the CDSOA.
On appeal before the Federal Circuit, Ashley and Ethan Allen argued that they had supported the petition within the meaning of the CDSOA, despite their questionnaire responses, and thus should be considered affected domestic producers eligible for payments. In August 2013, the Federal Circuit ruled that Ashley and Ethan Allen could not be affected domestic producers because they never indicated support for the petition by a letter or through questionnaire responses. Ashley and Ethan Allen's motions for rehearing en banc before the Federal Circuit were denied in January 2014.
Standard Furniture Manufacturing Co., Inc. (Standard) also filed a petition for a writ of certiorari with the Supreme Court. Standard's case factually is almost identical to Ashley's; Standard also indicated in a questionnaire response that it opposed the petition against Chinese wooden bedroom furniture manufacturers. Although Standard's petition remains pending before the Supreme Court, it is expected to be denied.