State Bank & Trust Company v. Lil Al M/V et al
ORDER AND REASONS granting Intervenor Industrial Diesel Service, LLC'S 71 Motion for Summary Judgment. Intervenor is entitled to judgment against the vessels in these principal amounts, together with pre- and post-judgment interest and costs. A ruling regarding the ranking of said liens is deferred. Signed by Judge Jane Triche Milazzo. (ecm)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
EASTERN DISTRICT OF LOUISIANA
STATE BANK AND TRUST CO.
LIL AL M/V ET AL.
ORDER AND REASONS
Before the Court is Intervenor Industrial Diesel Service, LLC’s Motion
for Summary Judgment (Doc. 71). For the following reasons, the Motion is
Plaintiff State Bank & Trust Company (“State Bank”) is a financial
institution that loaned money in the form of a promissory note (“the Note”) to
Defendant C&G Liftboats, LLC (“C&G”). Plaintiff alleges that the Note is
secured by a collateral mortgage in the vessel M/V LIL AL. The Note is
allegedly further secured by collateral mortgages on the M/V MR. ALAN and
the M/V L/B WHITNEY, executed by their owner A.M.C. Liftboats, Inc.
(“AMC”). AMC also granted a commercial guaranty to State Bank to guarantee
the Note. Finally, Polly and Adam Cheramie, the owners of C&G and AMC,
granted personal guarantees on the Note.
Plaintiff alleges that on December 15, 2015, C&G defaulted on the note.
On May 11, 2016, Plaintiff brought this suit, seeking repayment on the Note
and adding as in personam Defendants C&G, AMC, the Cheramies, and in rem
Defendants the M/V MR. ALAN, M/V L/B WHITNEY, and the M/V LIL AL.
On July 13, 2016, Industrial Diesel Service, LLC (“Industrial Diesel”)
intervened claiming it has maritime liens on the M/V MR. ALAN and the M/V
L/B WHITNEY. Industrial Diesel now moves for summary judgment on its
claim, seeking a judgment recognizing its liens as valid. No opposition was
filed to this Motion.
Summary judgment is appropriate “if the pleadings, depositions,
answers to interrogatories, and admissions on file, together with affidavits, if
any, show that there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and that the
moving party is entitled to a judgment as a matter of law.” 1 A genuine issue
of fact exists only “if the evidence is such that a reasonable jury could return a
verdict for the nonmoving party.” 2
In determining whether the movant is entitled to summary judgment,
the Court views facts in the light most favorable to the non-movant and draws
all reasonable inferences in his favor. 3 “If the moving party meets the initial
Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(c) (2012).
Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986).
3 Coleman v. Houston Indep. Sch. Dist., 113 F.3d 528, 532 (5th Cir. 1997).
burden of showing that there is no genuine issue of material fact, the burden
shifts to the non-moving party to produce evidence or designate specific facts
showing the existence of a genuine issue for trial.” 4 Summary judgment is
appropriate if the non-movant “fails to make a showing sufficient to establish
the existence of an element essential to that party’s case.” 5 “In response to a
properly supported motion for summary judgment, the non-movant must
identify specific evidence in the record and articulate the manner in which that
evidence supports that party’s claim, and such evidence must be sufficient to
sustain a finding in favor of the non-movant on all issues as to which the nonmovant would bear the burden of proof at trial.” 6 “We do not . . . in the absence
of any proof, assume that the nonmoving party could or would prove the
necessary facts.” 7 Additionally, “[t]he mere argued existence of a factual
dispute will not defeat an otherwise properly supported motion.” 8
LAW AND ANALYSIS
Intervenor Industrial Diesel has moved for summary judgment
recognizing its maritime lien on the M/V MR. ALAN and M/V L/B WHITNEY.
No party has opposed this Motion. The Court may not, however, simply grant
the instant Motion as unopposed. The Fifth Circuit approaches the automatic
Engstrom v. First Nat’l Bank of Eagle Lake, 47 F.3d 1459, 1462 (5th Cir. 1995).
Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 324 (1986).
6 John v. Deep E. Tex. Reg. Narcotics Trafficking Task Force, 379 F.3d 293, 301 (5th
Cir. 2004) (internal citations omitted).
7 Badon v. R J R Nabisco, Inc., 224 F.3d 382, 394 (5th Cir. 2000) (quoting Little v.
Liquid Air Corp., 37 F.3d 1069, 1075 (5th Cir. 1994)).
8 Boudreaux v. Banctec, Inc., 366 F. Supp. 2d 425, 430 (E.D. La. 2005).
grant of dispositive motions with considerable aversion. 9 Accordingly, this
Court has considered the merits of the Intervenor’s Motion.
Intervenor alleges that Defendant AMC has failed to pay it for the labor
and materials it provided in performing repairs on the engines and generators
of the MR. ALAN and the WHITNEY. It alleges that this failure creates a
maritime lien in the amounts that it is owed, $10,912.53 and $8,232.71, by the
MR. ALAN and the WHITNEY respectively. A maritime lien is “a special
property right in the vessel, arising in favor of the creditor by operation of law
as security for a debt or claim. The lien arises when the debt arises, and grants
the creditor the right to appropriate the vessel, have it sold, and be repaid the
debt from the proceeds.” 10 Pursuant to 46 U.S.C. § 31342, a “person providing
necessaries to a vessel on the order of the owner or a person authorized by the
owner (1) has a maritime lien on the vessel; (2) may bring a civil action in rem
to enforce the lien; and (3) is not required to allege or prove in the action that
credit was given to the vessel.” The term “necessaries” includes repairs and
supplies. 11 Intervenor has provided invoices showing the amounts billed to
AMC for the repair work and supplies provided to its vessels. The invoices
show that Intervenor is owed $10,912.53 for the repairs and supplies provided
to the MR. ALAN and $8,232.71 for the repairs and supplies provided to the
WHITNEY. There is no indication that the parties intended to waive the lien
See, e.g., Servicios Azucareros de Venezuela, C.A. v. John Deere Thibodeaux, Inc., 702
F.3d 794, 806 (5th Cir. 2012); Johnson v. Pettiford, 442 F.3d 917, 918 (5th Cir. 2006) (per
curiam); John v. State of Louisiana (Bd. of Trs. for State Colls. and Univs.), 757 F.2d 698,
709 (5th Cir.1985).
10 Equilease Corp. v. M/V Sampson, 793 F.2d 598, 602 (5th Cir. 1986).
11 46 U.S.C. § 31301.
or rely on other credit. 12 Accordingly, this Court holds that Intervenor has a
valid maritime lien on both the M/V MR. ALAN and the M/V L/B WHITNEY.
For the foregoing reasons, Intervenor Industrial Diesel’s Motion for
Summary Judgment is GRANTED, and its maritime liens on the M/V MR.
ALAN and the M/V L/B WHITNEY are recognized as a matter of law. The
principal value of the Intervenor’s lien on the M/V MR. ALAN is $10,912.53,
and the principal value of the Intervenor’s lien on the M/V L/B WHITNEY is
$8,232.71. Intervenor is entitled to judgment against the vessels in these
principal amounts, together with pre- and post-judgment interest and costs. A
ruling regarding the ranking of said liens is deferred.
New Orleans, Louisiana this 1st day of August, 2017.
JANE TRICHE MILAZZO
UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Racal Survey U.S.A., Inc. v. M/V COUNT FLEET, 231 F.3d 183, 189 (5th Cir. 2000)
(“[P]resumption arises that one providing supplies to a vessel acquires a maritime lien”).
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