from the United States Court of International Trade in No.
1:14-cv-00285-CRK, Judge Claire R. Kelly.
Frances Pierson Hadfield, Crowell & Moring, LLP, New
York, NY, argued for plaintiff-appellee. Also represented by
Daniel Cannistra, Washington, DC.
Matthew James Glover, Commercial Litigation Branch, Civil
Division, United States Department of Justice, Washington,
DC, argued for defendant-appellant.
represented by Jeanne Davidson, Joseph H. Hunt; Amy Rubin,
Guy Eddon, New York, NY; Michael W. Heydrich, Office of the
Assistant Chief Counsel, United States Bureau of Customs and
Border Protection, United States Department of Homeland
Security, New York, NY.
Lourie, Mayer, and Reyna, Circuit Judges.
LOURIE, CIRCUIT JUDGE.
United States appeals from the judgment of the United States
Court of International Trade ("the Trade Court")
granting Irwin Industrial Tool Company's
("Irwin") motion for summary judgment that its
imported hand tools are properly classified as pliers,
Irwin Indus. Tool Co. v. United States, 269
F.Supp.3d 1294 (Ct. Int'l Trade 2017) ("Irwin
II"), and interpreting subheading 8204.12.00 and
8203.20.6030 of the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United
States ("HTSUS"), Irwin Indus. Tool Co. v.
United States, 222 F.Supp.3d 1210 (Ct. Int'l Trade
2017) ("Irwin I"). Because the imported
articles are properly classified as pliers under
8203.20.6030, we affirm.
imported several styles of hand tools, including straight jaw
locking pliers, large jaw locking pliers, curved jaw locking
pliers with and without wire cutters, and long nose locking
pliers with wire cutters. U.S. Customs and Border Protection
("Customs" or "the government")
classified Irwin's tools as "wrenches" under
subheading 8204.12.00 of the HTSUS and denied each of
Irwin's protests to classify them as "pliers."
Irwin then filed suit in the Trade Court challenging
Trade Court denied the government's motion for summary
judgment that the tools are properly classified as wrenches,
Irwin I, 222 F.Supp.3d at 1229, but granted
Irwin's motion for summary judgment that the tools are
properly classified as pliers, Irwin II, 269
F.Supp.3d at 1305. In its response to Irwin's motion, the
government moved for reconsideration of the court's order
construing the tariff terms, which the court also denied.
Id. at 1305- 06.
Trade Court first interpreted the term wrenches found in
subheading 8204.12.00. It reviewed a series of dictionary
definitions and industry standards before concluding that the
term wrenches is an eo nomine term not controlled by
use. The court interpreted wrenches to mean "a hand tool
that has a head with jaws or sockets having surfaces adapted
to snugly or exactly fit and engage the head of a fastener
(such as bolt-head or nut) and a singular handle with which
to leverage hand pressure to turn the fastener without
damaging the fastener's head." Irwin I, 222
F.Supp.3d at 1221 (footnote omitted).
Trade Court then conducted a similar analysis for the term
pliers in subheading 8203.20.6030 of the HTSUS and found the
"common and commercial meaning of 'pliers'
refers to a versatile hand tool with two handles and two jaws
that are flat or serrated and are on a pivot, which must be
squeezed together to enable the tool to grasp an object; the
jaws may, or may not, lock together to hold the object while
using the tool." Id. at 1224.
these interpretations, the Trade Court denied the
government's motion for summary judgment that the tools
at issue are properly classified as wrenches and granted
Irwin's motion that the tools are pliers. In the
court's view, the undisputed facts demonstrated that the
products at issue were pliers within subheading 8203.20.6030
because the tools "1) are versatile hand tools, 2) have
two handles, and 3) have two jaws, that are flat or serrated
and are on a pivot, which can be squeezed together to enable
the tools to grasp an object." Irwin II, 269
F.Supp.3d at 1302.
government appealed. We have jurisdiction under 28 ...