SJ Stile Assoc. Ltd. v. Snyder, Appeal No. 81-9.

CourtUnited States Court of Customs and Patent Appeals
Citation646 F.2d 522
Docket NumberAppeal No. 81-9.
PartiesS. J. STILE ASSOCIATES LTD., et al., Appellants, v. Dennis SNYDER et al., Appellees.
Decision Date02 April 1981

646 F.2d 522

S. J. STILE ASSOCIATES LTD., et al., Appellants,
Dennis SNYDER et al., Appellees.

Appeal No. 81-9.

United States Court of Customs and Patent Appeals.

April 2, 1981.

646 F.2d 523

Mandel & Grunfeld, New York City, for appellants; Robert B. Silverman, New York City, of counsel.

Thomas S. Martin, Acting Asst. Atty. Gen., Washington, D. C., David M. Cohen, Director, New York City, Joseph I. Liebman, New York City, Atty. in charge, Sidney N. Weiss, New York City, attorneys for appellees.

Before MARKEY, Chief Judge, and RICH, BALDWIN, MILLER and NIES, Judges.

646 F.2d 524

MARKEY, Chief Judge.

This interlocutory appeal is from the denial of a preliminary injunction. S. J. Stile Associates Ltd., et al. (Brokers), who have their sole places of business in the immediate vicinity of the Customhouse at J.F.K. Airport, sought to restrain New York Regional Commissioner of Customs Dennis Snyder and his superiors (Commissioner) from discontinuing the practice of permitting a filing of "cross-over" entries in the New York City Customs District. The Court of International Trade, per Judge Boe, denied the Brokers' application for injunctive relief from the bench and subsequently issued a written order to that effect. S. J. Stile Associates Ltd., et al. v. Snyder, et al., 505 F.Supp. 1122, 1123, 2 CIT ___ (1981). We affirm.


The New York City Customs District is coextensive with the New York City Customs Region. The latter is divided into three geographical Areas; viz., J.F.K. Airport (JFK), New York Seaport (Seaport) and Newark. 19 C.F.R. 101.1(a), 101.3(b) Each Area has a Customhouse located therein for transaction of Customs business.

The term "cross-over" refers to the filing of entry documents, and obtaining release of merchandise, at a Customhouse located in one Area within the District, for merchandise unladen or placed in a bonded warehouse in another Area.

On November 7, 1980, the Commissioner issued "Pipeline 524",1 to become effective on January 12, 1981. After the effective date, Customs entry documentation, and the resulting release of merchandise from Customs custody, for merchandise unladen or warehoused at Seaport or Newark, could not be filed and obtained at JFK and would have to be filed and obtained at the Customhouse at either Seaport or Newark.2

The cross-over entry procedure, described by appellants as in existence for 13 years, has remained in effect to this day throughout the New York Customs District. Although the trial court denied application for a preliminary injunction, appellees agreed, at the suggestion of Judge Boe, to postpone implementation of Pipeline 524 until April 1, 1981, pending decision in this appeal.

The purpose of Pipeline 524 as declared in its text is: "To adjust administrative policy to eliminate many of the errors and delays in entry and liquidation caused by inter-area processing at J.F.K., and to provide more accountable entry service and control of merchandise entered and stored in bonded warehouses."

The Commissioner says Pipeline 524 is one step in a program intended to ameliorate an integrity and management problem, developed over years in the New York Region, in which a dishonest importer might effectively elect the customs officer (import commodity specialist) who would process his documentation.3

The Commissioner, having determined that elimination of cross-over filing was essential for effective integrity and management control, directed as a first step its elimination at JFK. Statistical surveys indicated that ninety-seven percent of the brokerage business at JFK would be unaffected by application of Pipeline 524.4

The Brokers claim that substantial time delays in filing documents and obtaining

646 F.2d 525
release of merchandise unladen at Seaport-Newark would not be tolerated by their clients, who would purportedly turn to competing brokers with offices at Seaport-Newark. The Brokers allege an inability to pass on to their customers the increased business expenses incurred in opening offices at Seaport-Newark or in otherwise coping with travel delays between JFK and Seaport-Newark

Between the issuance of Pipeline 524 on November 7, 1980 and its January 12, 1981 effective date, the Commissioner actively solicited comments on the prospective change in procedure and conducted meetings on at least five occasions with brokers having offices at or near JFK, at which the foregoing objections were asserted and considered. Remaining convinced of the necessity of eliminating cross-over entries at JFK as a first step in solving what was viewed as an integrity and management problem, the Commissioner adhered thereto and the Brokers brought this action below on December 19, 1980.5


In an interlocutory appeal from a denial of preliminary injunctive relief, the scope of review is narrow. Application for a preliminary injunction is addressed to the discretion of the trial court, not to that of the appellate court....

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