United States District Court, D. Montana, Billings Division
FINDINGS OF FACT, CONCLUSIONS OF LAW, DEFAULT
JUDGMENT AND ORDER OF FORFEITURE
P. WATTERS United States District Judge
matter is brought before this Court by Plaintiff, United
States, by and through its attorney, Victoria L. Francis,
Assistant U.S. Attorney for the District of Montana. The
United States has filed a Motion for Entry of Default
Judgment and Order of Forfeiture pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P.
55(b)(2). Upon considering the pleadings filed herein, the
Court makes the following Findings of Fact and Conclusions of
November 28, 2016, Plaintiff, United States of America, filed
in this cause its Verified Complaint for Forfeiture In
Rem against the defendant property, consisting of the
following: Winchester Model 12, 12 gauge shotgun, Serial
Number: 612907 and $14, 731.00 in U.S. Currency, for
violations of 21 U.S.C. §§ 841 et seq. and
881(a)(6) and (11), and 18 U.S.C. § § 922(g)(3) and
924(d). (Doc. l, ¶1).
January 4, 2017, an FBI Task Force Officer executed the
Warrant of Arrest In Rem that was issued by this
Court, and arrested the defendant property. (Doc. 6).
Examination of the court files and records in this case shows
that pursuant to Supplemental Rule G(4)(b)(i) of the
Supplemental Rules for Admiralty or Maritime Claims and Asset
Forfeiture Actions, the United States provided "direct
notice" of this action to known potential claimants,
Robert Lund and Miriam Lund on December 2, 2016, by mailing
them a copy of the Verified Complaint for Forfeiture In
Rem and Notice of Complaint for Forfeiture by
first-class mail and certified mail to the address they
provided in the administrative claims process. (See
Notice of Complaint for Forfeiture, Doc. 3; Declaration in
Support of U.S. Motion for Entry of Defaults, Doc. 10,
¶¶ 4-5, Exh. 1; Supplemental Rule G(4)(b)(iii)(E)).
The certified mail receipts for both Robert Lund and Miriam
Lund were executed by Miriam Lund, the first class mailings
to Robert and Miriam Lund were not returned to the U.S.
Attorney's Office. (Doc. 10, ¶¶6-7, Exh.3, 4).
Robert Lund and Miriam Lund failed to file a verified claim
as instructed in the Notice of Complaint for Forfeiture at
page 2, paragraphs 3-4. (Doc. 3). They have also failed to
file an answer or a motion under Fed.R.Civ.P. 12 within 21
days after the filing of a claim as required by Supplemental
Rule G(5)(b) and as instructed in the Notice of Complaint for
Forfeiture at page 3, paragraph 5. (Doc. 3).
Service by publication of the forfeiture action pursuant to
Supplemental Rule G(4)(a)(iv)(C) was also provided to
potential claimants, both known and unknown, by publishing on
the government's asset forfeiture web site the Notice of
Forfeiture Action for 30 consecutive days, beginning on
November 30, 2016, and ending on December 29, 2016.
(See Declaration of Publication, Doc. 7). No claim
was filed with the Court within 60 days of the first day of
publication by any known or unknown potential claimant, as
required by Supplemental Rule G(5)(a)(ii)(B).
After the United States moved for entry of defaults supported
by Declarations (Doc. 9, 7, 10), the Clerk of District Court
entered the defaults of known potential claimants, Robert and
Miriam Lund, and unknown potential claimants on April 7,
2017, for failure to timely file a verified claim and/or
answer or otherwise defend as required by the Supplemental
Rules. (Doc. 11).
on the foregoing findings of fact, the Court makes the
following conclusions of law.
Court has jurisdiction of this action pursuant to 28 U.S.C.
§§ 1345 and 1355(a), (b)(1)(A) and (B), and (d).
Venue is proper in this District pursuant to 28 U.S.C.
§§1355 and 1395 because acts or omissions giving
rise to the conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine occurred
in this District and the defendant property is located in
Civil forfeitures are governed by the Supplemental Rules for
Certain Admiralty or Maritime Claims and Asset Forfeiture
Actions of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. United
States v. 2659 ...