WASHINGTON - Legal representatives for Ashley Furniture and Ethan Allen have petitioned the U.S. Supreme Court in an effort to claim a share of the antidumping duties from Chinese wood bedroom furniture.

The May petition is the last recourse after the U.S. Appeals Court for the Federal Circuit refused to hear the case. An earlier ruling last year by the Appellate Court denied their claim.

Although the two companies were not part of the American Furniture Manufacturers Committee for Legal Trade — the coalition that filed the successful antidumping petition back in 2003 — they claim that as domestic manufacturers they are still entitled to a share of the millions of dollars in punitive antidumping duties assessed under the now-defunct Byrd Amendment. Ashley and Ethan Allen are represented in their petition by Washington-based law firm Mowry & Grimson.

The petition before the Supreme Court states in part: “The only distinction between petitioners who have been denied distributions under the CDSOA (Continued Dumping and Subsidy Offset Act/Byrd Amendment), and many other companies that received them, is the content of their speech on a question of public concern and political controversy.”

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Mowry & Grimson partner Kristen Mowry told Furniture Today that a response is expected this summer. The Supreme Court can choose to hear the case, deny it or or send it back to the U.S. Court of Appeals.

According to the Winston-Salem Journal, the U.S. International Trade Commission, U.S. Customs and Border Protection and six residential furniture manufacturers from the coalition are listed as defendants. The six companies are: Vaughan-Bassett Furniture Co. which spearheaded the antidumping effort, Kincaid Furniture Co. Inc., Stickley Inc., Sandberg Furniture Mfg. Co., Stanley Furniture Co. Inc. and T. Copeland and Sons Inc.

The DOC published the Notice of Amended Final Determination of Sales at Less Than Fair Value and Antidumping Duty Order: Wooden Bedroom Furniture From the People's Republic of China, 70 FR 329 in January 2005, following a successful petition by the American Furniture Manufacturers Committee for Legal Trade, a coalition at the time composed of 27 U.S. manufacturers of wooden bedroom furniture, as well as the locals of five unions: the Cabinet Makers, Millmen, and Industrial Carpenters Local 721; the UBC Southern Council of Industrial Workers Local Union 2305; the United Steel Workers of America Local 193U; the Carpenters Industrial Union Local 2093; and the Teamsters, Chauffeurs, Warehousemen and Helpers Local 991.

Kristin Mowry, a partner in Mowry & Grimson, said that the government is expected to file its response over the summer. The court would not likely decide on whether to hear the case until September, following its summer recess.

The court can either take the case, deny hearing the case or send it directly back to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, she noted.

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