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Customs & Tariffs – Case Against Victaulic Company

Outcome: $600,000 Settlement & Expansion of False Claims Act

In this groundbreaking case, Tycko & Zavareei LLP partners Jonathan Tycko and Anna Haac represented the relator in a qui tam case against Victaulic Company, alleging that Victaulic imported pipe fittings into the United States without proper country-of-origin marks.  In a hotly contested appeal, the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit ruled for the first time that if a company knowingly evades customs duties by importing goods that are not properly marked with their foreign country of origin, that company is subject to being sued by whistleblowers under the False Claims Act. U.S. law requires that imported goods be marked with their country-of-origin so that customers and consumers know where the goods were manufactured. If a company imports foreign-made goods in violation of that requirement, then the company is liable to the government for “marking duties,” which are extra duties equal to 10% of the value of the goods.

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