United States District Court, M.D. Florida, Fort Myers Division
IN RE TAMMY TRANTER, AS OWNER OF THE MOTOR VESSEL ''SOUTHERN VORTEX, '' A 47 FOOT 2004 FORMULA THUNDERBIRD BEARING HULL IDENTIFICATION NUMBER TNRD2634A304
UNKNOWN DEFENDANT, Defendant. TAMMY TRANTER, AS OWNER OF THE MOTOR VESSEL ''SOUTHERN VORTEX, '' A 47 FOOT 2004 FORMULA THUNDERBIRD BEARING HULL IDENTIFICATION NUMBER TNRD2634A304, Her Engines, Tackle, Apparel and Appurtenances, Plaintiff,
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
MCCOY UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
before the Court is Plaintiff's Motion for Entry of
Default and Default Final Judgment (Doc. 13) filed
on May 15, 2017. Plaintiff seeks the entry of:
[A] Default and Default Final Judgment against ST Snook Bight
Marina, LLC, Mouser Engineering, LLC, David Denise and all
persons and entities who have failed to file Claims or
Answers to the Verified Complaint exonerating Plaintiff from
any liability and barring the filing of any further claims or
answers in these proceedings or in any other proceedings
related to or arising out of event described in the Verified
(Doc. 13 at 6). For the reasons discussed herein,
the Undersigned recommends that Plaintiff's Motion be
GRANTED IN PART and DENIED WITHOUT
PREJUDICE IN PART.
brings this action pursuant to 46 U.S.C. § 30501, et
seq. and Supplemental Rule F, Fed.R.Civ.P. (SeeDoc.
5). The Amended Verified Complaint alleges that a fire
occurred aboard Plaintiff's vessel, a Formula motor
vessel named “Southern Vortex” which bears hull
identification number TNRD2634A304 on August 10, 2016.
(Id. at ¶¶ 5-8). The fire allegedly
occurred while the vessel was moored on navigable waters at
Snook Bight Marina, 4765 Estero Blvd., Fort Myers Beach,
Florida, destroying the vessel and causing damage to the
marina's dock and to several nearby vessels.
(Id. at ¶¶ 6-10). According to the Amended
Verified Complaint, Plaintiff was not aboard the vessel at
the time of the fire. (Id. at ¶ 9).
seeks exoneration from or limitation of liability for all
losses, injuries, and damages alleged to have been sustained
as result of the incident that occurred on August 10, 2016.
In seeking this relief, on March 17, 2017, Plaintiff filed a
Motion to Approve Ad Interim Stipulation and to Enter
Monition and Injunction (Doc. 8). On March 21, 2017,
the Court entered an Order Approving Ad Interim Stipulation
of Value, Directing Issuance of Monition and Injunction.
(Doc. 10). A Monition (Doc. 11) was entered
separately the same day.
then published a Notice of the Monition in The
News-Press, a daily newspaper published at Fort Myers in
Lee County, Florida for four straight weeks on March 31,
2017, April 7, 2017, April 14, 2017 and April 21, 2017.
(Doc. 12). Additionally, Plaintiff sent a copy of the
Order to every known potential claimant via certified mail,
including ST Snook Bight Marina, LLC, Mouser Engineering,
LLC, and David Denise. (SeeDoc. 13-1; Doc.
13-2). Plaintiff contends that “no person or
entity has filed a claim, answer or other paper in these
proceedings and the time for doing so has passed.”
(Doc. 13 at 3). Thus, Plaintiff now seeks
“entry of default and to default judgment exonerating
her from any liability arising out of the incident described
in the Complaint.” (Id.).
actions to exonerate or limit liability from claims arising
out of maritime accidents, the Supplemental Rules for
Admiralty or Maritime Claims to the Federal Rules of Civil
Procedure set forth strict deadlines for providing notice to
potential claimants and filing claims. See In re:
Ruth, No. 8:15-cv-2895-T-23TBM, 2016 WL 4708021, at *2
(M.D. Fla. Aug. 23, 2016), report and recommendation
adopted sub nom. In re 37' 2000 Intrepid
Powerboat, No. 8:15-cv-2895-T-23TBM, 2016 WL 4667385
(M.D. Fla. Sept. 7, 2016). Pursuant to Supplemental Rule F of
[T]he court shall issue a notice to all persons asserting
claims with respect to which the complaint seeks limitation,
admonishing them to file their respective claims with the
clerk of the court and to serve on the attorneys for the
plaintiff a copy thereof on or before a date to be named in
the notice. The date so fixed shall not be less than 30 days
after issuance of the notice. For cause shown, the court may
enlarge the time within which claims may be filed. The notice
shall be published in such newspaper or newspapers as the
court may direct once a week for four successive weeks prior
to the date fixed for the filing of claims. The plaintiff not
later than the day of second publication shall also mail a
copy of the notice to every person known to have made any
claim against the vessel or the plaintiff arising out of the
voyage or trip on which the claims sought to be limited
Fed. R. Civ. P. Supp. R. F(4).
this notice has been given, all claims “shall be filed
and served on or before the date specified in the notice
provided for in subdivision (4) of this Rule.”
Fed.R.Civ.P. Supp. R. F(5). “If a claimant desires to
contest either the right to exoneration from or the right to
limitation of liability, the claimant shall file and serve an
answer to the complaint unless the claim has included an