United States District Court, D. Montana
FINDINGS OF FACT, CONCLUSIONS OF LAW, DEFAULT
JUDGMENT, AND ORDER OF FORFEITURE
MORRIS UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT JUDGE
the United States of America, has moved for an entry of
default judgment pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 55(b)(2). Upon
considering the pleadings filed herein, the Court hereby
makes the following Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law:
June 14, 2017, Plaintiff, United States of America, filed in
this cause its Verified Complaint for Forfeiture In
Rem against the defendant property, consisting of the
following: Springfield Armory Model XDS, .45 caliber
semiautomatic pistol with obliterated serial number, to
forfeit and condemn the defendant property for violation of
18 U.S.C. § 924(d) in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 922
(k). (Doc. 1, ¶ 1).
Court issued a Warrant of Arrest in Rem (Doc. 4) and
the defendant property was arrested on June 26, 2017. (Doc.
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 claimant
Bobby D. Potts, Jr. on June 15, 2017, by mailing to him 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 Bobby D. Potts, Jr.
provided in his administrative claim. (Notice of Verified
Complaint for Forfeiture, Doc. 2; Declaration in Support of
U.S. Motion for Entry of Defaults, Doc. 7). The certified
mail receipt for Bobby D. Potts, Jr. was signed for by Lisa
Raitton on June 22, 2017. The first-class mailing sent to
Bobby D. Potts, Jr. at the same address was not returned to
the U.S. Attorney's Office by the U.S. Postal Service.
Notice of Verified Complaint for Forfeiture (Doc. 2) sets
forth the deadlines for filing a verified claim to the
defendant property, and answer or Rule 12 motion as required
by Supplemental Rules G(5)(a) and (b). Bobby D. Potts, Jr.
failed to file a verified claim as instructed in the Notice
of Verified Complaint for Forfeiture at page 2-3, ¶
¶ 3-4. (Doc. 2). Potts 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 Verified Complaint for
Forfeiture at page 3, ¶ 5. (Doc. 2).
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 June
17, 2017 and ending on July 16, 2017. (See
Declaration of Publication, Doc. 6, Attachment 1). 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 the entry of defaults of
Bobby D. Potts, Jr. and unknown potential claimants,
supported by Declarations (Doc. 7, 8, 9), the Clerk of
District Court entered the defaults of known potential
claimant Bobby D. Potts, Jr., and unknown potential claimants
on September 19, 2017. (Doc. 10).
upon 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. The United States has filed a
Verified Complaint for Forfeiture In Rem to forfeit the
defendant property consisting of firearms and ammunition,
pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 924(d)(1).
Venue is proper in this District pursuant to 28 U.S.C.
§§ 1355 and 1395, because the acts or omissions
giving rise to the forfeiture occurred in and around
Billings, Montana, and the defendant property is located in
Supplemental Rules for Certain Admiralty or Maritime Claims
and Asset Forfeiture Actions of the Federal Rules of Civil
Procedure govern civil forfeiture actions. United States
v. 2659 ...