United States District Court, S.D. California
ORDER AUTHORIZING ARREST OF DEFENDANT VESSEL AND
APPOINTING SUBSTITUTE CUSTODIAN
HONORABLE LARRY ALAN BURNS United States District Judge.
Yacht's David Maguire filed an action against the S/V
Mousetrap for breach of a maritime contract. Maguire says the
Mousetrap's owners owe him about $200, 000 for services
he's provided since last summer. Maguire filed ex parte
motions requesting the Court order (i) a warrant for the
arrest of the Mousetrap; and (ii) an order appointing
Driscoll Boat Works as custodian.
Motion for arrest warrant
Court must first “review the complaint and any
supporting papers” to determine if “the
conditions for an in rem action appear to exist.”
Fed.R.Civ.P. Supp. Admiralty Rule C. “An action in rem
may be brought” to “enforce any maritime
liens.” Id. Specifically, a “person
providing necessaries to a vessel on the order of the owner
or a person authorized by the owner” “has a
maritime lien on the vessel” and “may bring a
civil action in rem to enforce the lien.” 46 U.S.C.
§ 31342. The term necessaries includes repairs.
Id. § 3130. And courts have interpreted the
term broadly to include “any item which is reasonably
needed for the venture in which the ship is engaged.”
Foss Launch & Tug Co. v. Char Ching Shipping U.S.A.,
Ltd., 808 F.2d 697, 699 (9th Cir. 1987). The complaint
must also be verified, describe the property with reasonable
particularity, and state that the property is within the
district. Fed.R.Civ.P. Supp. Admiralty Rule C.
says that he provided work on the Mousetrap at the request of
the Captain and Engineer based on an oral agreement in June
2015. He received payment for about a year, but since last
summer, he hasn't been paid for a myriad of repairs.
Maguire says all of the unpaid work was inspected and
approved by the Captain or Engineer. He's attached the
relevant unpaid invoices. Maguire's complaint is
verified, describes the ship with particularity, and states
that the Mousetrap is docked within the district.
Court finds an in rem action to enforce a maritime lien
appears to exist. Therefore, the Court "must issue an
order directing the clerk to issue a warrant for the arrest
of the vessel.” Id. The Court GRANTS the
motion (Dkt. 2) and issues the following orders:
Court orders the Clerk to prepare a warrant for the arrest of
the Defendant vessel S/V Mousetrap and all of her furnishings
as described in the caption. The Clerk shall deliver the
warrant to the U.S. Marshal for the Southern District for
Electra Yacht must comply with the notice provisions as
outlined in Fed.R.Civ.P. Supp. Admiralty Rule C(4) and Local
Civ. R. C.1(b). Any person with an interest in the Mousetrap
is entitled to a prompt hearing upon request. At the hearing,
Electra Yacht needs to show probable cause for the issuance
of the warrant. Fed.R.Civ.P. Supp. Admiralty Rule E.
Substitution of Custodian
Yacht also moved for the appointment of a substitute
custodian. The Court may “order that custody of the
vessel be given to the operator of a marina” if the
Court finds they can “safely keep the vessel and has in
effect adequate insurance.” Local Civ. Rule E.1. The
Court finds that Driscoll Boat Works satisfies the local rule
and GRANTS the motion to appoint Driscoll as substitute
custodian authorized to move the vessel (Dkt. 3). The Court
issues the following orders:
Driscoll Boat Works is appointed as substitute custodian of
the S/V Mousetrap. Driscoll's Michael Benedict is
authorized to accept custodianship. Driscoll may move the
vessel to any suitable and safe location within its boatyard
for safekeeping as discussed in § 6.
U.S. Marshal shall surrender the Mousetrap to Driscoll and
the Marshal shall be discharged and not liable for any claims
arising out of surrendering the vessel to Driscoll.
Driscoll shall assume custody of the Mousetrap and arrange to
tow it from The Marine Group's boatyard at 997 G Street
in Chula Vista to Driscoll Boat Works at 2500 Shelter Island
Drive in San ...