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FMC Press Release Posted September 26, 2022 -- Chairman Daniel B. Maffei announced this week the hiring of Linda S. Harris Crovella to serve as an Administrative Law Judge of the Federal Maritime Commission.

Judge Crovella joins the Commission after serving as an Administrative Law Judge with the Social Security Administration in Richmond, VA and Buffalo, NY for the past six years. Prior to joining the Social Security Administration, she worked at the National Labor Relations Board as a Field Attorney, investigating and litigating unfair labor practice charges, working in the Buffalo, Boston, and Brooklyn Regional offices before transferring to the Washington, D.C. Resident Office as a Supervisory Attorney.

“The caseload of our Office of the Administrative Law Judge has sharply increased over the past two years resulting from more parties seeking relief to shipping disputes by using the formal complaints process. Expanding the capabilities and resources of this critical function supports my priority that the Commission emphasize its enforcement work. Judge Crovella possess excellent experience and credentials and I am confident she will be a valuable addition to the agency. I am pleased to welcome her to the Commission,” said Chairman Maffei.

Judge Crovella received her J.D. from State University of New York at Buffalo School of Law in 1987 and her B.S. from Cornell University in 1982. She is a member of the New York State Bar. She will serve with Chief Administrative Law Judge Erin M. Wirth.

FMC Press Release Posted July 14, 2022 -- The Federal Maritime Commission gives the following guidance for parties wishing to dispute charges assessed by common carriers that they believe may not comply with the Ocean Shipping Reform Act of 2022, which became Public Law 117-146 on June 16, 2022.

Parties interested in filing such “Charge Complaints” at the Commission may do so by following the below steps:

  • Identifying the common carrier

  • Identifying the specific alleged violations of 46 U.S.C. §§ 41102 and/or 41104(a)

  • Gathering and submitting supporting documentation, as appropriate, including:

  • Invoices

  • Bill of Lading Numbers

  • Evidence of whether the charge(s) have been paid

  • Confirming that the disputed charge was incurred on or after the enactment of P.L. 117-146

  • Submitting all relevant materials in one email (if possible) to

When the Commission receives sufficient information, it will promptly initiate an investigation, which could ultimately result in a civil penalty and order for a refund of charges paid.

Investigations by the Commission are for law enforcement purposes and do not constitute representation as attorney for the complainant or a guarantee of refunds. If the filer chooses to pursue and control their own legal case, including with the assistance of their own attorney if desired, they may do so under 46 U.S.C. § 41301(a) and Part 502 of the Commission’s regulations.

To do so, filers must submit a formal or informal complaint. Persons may also seek alternative dispute resolution services by contacting the Office of Consumer Affairs and Dispute Resolution.

This guidance communicates the timely implementation of a self-executing provision of PL 117-146. The Commission reserves the right to amend processes related to “Charge Complaints” at any time.

FMC Press Release Posted July 29, 2022 -- The Federal Maritime Commission is reorganizing its investigative and prosecution functions by consolidating them into a newly created Bureau of Enforcement, Investigations, and Compliance (BEIC) effective immediately.

The newly established Bureau will be headed by an attorney in the Senior Executive Service with regulatory, prosecutorial, and investigatory experience. The Commission’s Managing Director, Lucille M. Marvin, will also serve as Acting Director until a permanent Director is hired.

“Robust enforcement of the Shipping Act is absolutely key to the effectiveness of the Federal Maritime Commission. This reorganization has the support of all five Commissioners and creates a structure better suited to meeting the mandate the President and Congress have given this agency to prioritize enforcement. Specifically, it enhances FMC’s capacity to closely scrutinize the conduct of the ocean carrier companies and marine terminal operators to ensure compliance with the law and fairness for American importers and exporters,” said Chairman Daniel B. Maffei.

The BEIC will be divided into three sections: the Office of Enforcement, the Office of Investigations, and the Office of Compliance. These offices will each be led by an Office Director. The BEIC Director will supervise and manage the activities of the three offices and will be supported by a Deputy Director who will assist with program management. The BEIC Director will report to the Managing Director.

The reorganization was initiated following an internal examination undertaken to identify how to increase the effectiveness of Commission enforcement and compliance activities. The review determined a restructuring and merging of enforcement and compliance programs would result in a more efficient, coordinated, and responsive operation from initiation to conclusion of an investigation.

As part of the reorganization, the Commission is converting the positions of Area Representatives to Investigators, placing them in the Office of Investigations. Additionally, the Commission will increase the number of investigators it has on staff. Investigators will now focus exclusively on enforcement activity and the public outreach function formerly handled by the Area Representative role will be handled by the Commission’s Office of Consumer Affairs and Dispute Resolution Services as part of their broader public assistance work.

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