Judge Charles Siragusa
Claimant Brighton Trading sought dismissal of the government’s in rem action seeking civil forfeiture of counterfeit handbags seized from its warehouse in connection with an investigation into Zhang’s and her family’s involvement in the sale and distribution of counterfeit goods. The court denied the government’s motion to strike Brighton’s claim, finding Brighton sufficiently showed standing under Article III of the U.S. Constitution and the Civil Asset Forfeiture Reform Act. Brighton’s assertion of ownership, in combination with facts alleged in the government’s complaint, established Brighton’s Article III and statutory standing to bring a claim against forfeiture. However, the court denied Brighton’s dismissal motion. The government’s complaint sufficiently alleged that generic property was used to facilitate the sale of counterfeit merchandise. Also, a letter by the director of U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s fines and penalties office, informing Brighton’s lawyer of the U.S. attorney’s acceptance of the case and that Customs would hold an administrative petition in abeyance, did not convert Brighton’s petition for administrative relief into a Rule G(5) claim and thereby trigger the time period of 18 USC §983(a)(3)(A).