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 No. TNRD2634A304
UNKNOWN DEFENDANT, Defendant. TAMMY TRANTER, AS OWNER OF THE MOTOR VESSEL ''SOUTHERN VORTEX, '' A 47 FOOT 2004 FORMULA THUNDERBIRD BEARING HULL IDENTIFICATION No. TNRD2634A304, Her Engines, Tackle, Apparel and Appurtenances Plaintiff,
POLSTER CHAPPELL UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
the Court is Plaintiff Tammy Tranter's Renewed Motion for
Default Judgment (Doc. 18) filed on February 9, 2018.
Plaintiff requests the Court enter a default judgment against
any and all persons and/or entities who have failed to file
claims or answers. (Doc. 18 at 1). For the following reasons,
the Court grants Plaintiff's motion.
case stems from a vessel fire. (Doc. 5 at ¶¶ 5-7).
The fire occurred aboard Plaintiff's vessel while it was
moored at Snook Bright Marina. (Doc. 5 at ¶¶ 6-8).
It not only destroyed Plaintiff's vessel but also
allegedly caused damage to the Marina's dock and several
nearby vessels. (Doc. 5 at ¶ 10). Plaintiff seeks
exoneration from or limitation of liability for all losses,
injuries, and damages arising from that incident. (Doc. 5).
To that end, Plaintiff filed a Motion for Entry of Default
and Default Judgment against non-filing claimants. (Doc. 13).
The Court granted Plaintiff's request for entry of
default but denied entering default judgment as
premature. (Doc. 16). Plaintiff again seeks default
judgment against all potential claimants. (Doc. 18).
an action 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 deadlines for providing notice to
potential claimants and filing claims.” In re: Ruth,
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, 8:15-CV-2895-T-23TBM, 2016
WL 4667385 (M.D. Fla. Sept. 7, 2016). Pertinent here,
Supplemental Rule F(4) provides
the 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
arose. In cases involving death a copy of such notice shall
be mailed to the decedent at the decedent's last known
address, and also to any person who shall be known to have
made any claim on account of such death.
Supp. Adm. R. F(4). Claimants must file or serve their claims
before the date specified in the notice. See Supp.
Adm. R. F(5). And “if a claimant desires to contest
either the right to exoneration or the right to limitation of
liability the claimant shall file and serve an answer to the
complaint unless the claim included an answer.”
Id. If the notice period ends without a response
from potential claimants and a plaintiff has complied with
the applicable Supplemental Rules, default judgment will be
entered. See In re Pet. of Holliday,
6:14-CV-1709-ORL-28, 2015 WL 3404469, at *3 (M.D. Fla. May
26, 2015); see also Supp. Adm. R. F(4)-(5).
entry of default judgment is warranted. The Court set April
28, 2017, as the deadline to file a claim. (Doc. 11).
Plaintiff published notice of the limitation proceeding in a
daily newspaper for four straight weeks before the
deadline. (Doc. 12). The notice expressly stated the
deadline for filing a claim and/or answer and that failure to
file a timely claim and/or answer may result in the waiver of
such right to file a claim and/or answer. (Doc. 12). The
Plaintiff also mailed a copy of the notice to ST Snook Bright
Marina, LLC, Mouser Engineering, LLC, and David Denise. (Doc.
18 at ¶ 13). No. potential claimant has filed a claim
and/or answer before the Court and the deadline has expired.
Because Plaintiff satisfied her responsibilities, the Court
finds good cause to grant default judgment.
it is now
(1) Plaintiff Tammy Tranter's Renewed Motion for Default
Judgment Against Non-Filing Claimants (Doc. 18) is
(2) The Clerk shall enter default judgment in favor of
Plaintiff 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, against all
claimants who have not timely filed claims or answers in
response to Plaintiffs Amended Verified Complaint for
Exoneration from or Limitation of Liability.
(3) The Clerk of Court is DIRECTED to
terminate all pending motions and deadlines and close the