Gibson taking it to the Feds

The Tennessean had a story over the weekend indicating that Gibson Guitar is taking its ongoing battle with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to Federal Court.

Twice in the past two years, armed agents have raided the Gibson facilities in Nashville and removed hard drives, and wood stocks which are alleged to have been obtained illegally. According to the Tennessean piece by Anita Wadhwani, the company is prepared to file suit to have their property returned to them in the absence of any formal charges.

In a downtown Nashville courthouse, Gibson’s attorneys are seeking the return of $70,000 in wood imported from Madagascar that was seized in 2009 and that has remained in government hands since then. Last month, at the request of prosecutors, a federal judge agreed to put the case on hold so it would not “adversely affect the investigation and the prosecution of a related criminal investigation” — in effect, keeping the wood indefinitely with the government.

This week, however, U.S. District Court Judge William Haynes agreed to a request by Gibson lawyers to reconsider his ruling.

Haynes has ordered new oral arguments in the case to decide whether Gibson should be allowed to have its wood returned.

A second date of Dec. 16 was scheduled in case it proves necessary to change the Dec. 12 date, according to Haynes’ order.

In court filings, Gibson’s lawyers have argued that the guitar maker has complied with both U.S. and Madagascan laws in importing woods. The company sent lawyers to Madagascar to gather documents — letters from officials, export documents — that it says provide such proof.

Full details at

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About the Author

John Lawless

John had served as primary author and editor for The Bluegrass Blog from its launch in 2006 until being folded into Bluegrass Today in September of 2011. He continues in that capacity here, managing a strong team of columnists and correspondents.