Lawsuit filed seeking $464,000 in lawyer fees, Former fish auction owners renew battle with NOAA

The long and torturous legal battle with NOAA that sent the former Gloucester Fish Exchange into bankruptcy and to its ultimate sale may not be over just yet. The owners of GFX — the forerunner to the Cape Ann Seafood Exchange on Harbor Loop — are suing NOAA in federal court to recoup about $464,000 in legal fees the company paid during its battle and ultimate settlement with the federal fisheries regulator. The action names current Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, the Commerce Department and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration as defendants. The suit, prompted by NOAA’s final decision on March 6 denying GFX any reimbursement for legal fees, rekindles the battle that began as far back as 2005. The long-running affair resulted in two NOAA enforcement actions against the former auction — and a subsequent apology by then Commerce Secretary Gary Locke and NOAA administrator Jane Lubchenco for the excesses of the agency’s law enforcement unit. Click here to continue reading the story 13:07