United States of America v. Firearm Springfield Armory Pistol, Serial S3153418 et al
ORDER Granting 12 Government's Motion for Entry of Default Judgment and Final Order of Forfeiture Against All Interested Parties as to Defendants In Rem. Signed by District Judge Denise Page Hood. (LSau)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
EASTERN DISTRICT OF MICHIGAN
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,
CASE NO. 16-12478
HON. DENISE PAGE HOOD
ONE SPRINGFIELD ARMORY PISTOL,
ONE KIMBER ULTRA RAPTOR II
PISTOL, CALIBER 45, SN: KU265526;
ONE NEW FRONTIER ARMORY LW-15
RIFLE, CALIBER 223, SN: NLV73012;
Defendants in rem.
ORDER GRANTING GOVERNMENT’S MOTION FOR
ENTRY OF DEFAULT JUDGMENT AND FINAL ORDER OF
FORFEITURE AGAINST ALL INTERESTED PARTIES AS TO
DEFENDANTS IN REM [#12]
On June 30, 2016, the Government filed a Complaint for Forfeiture against
Defendants in rem One Springfield Armory Pistol, SN: S3153418; One Kimber
Ultra Raptor II Pistol, caliber 45, SN: KU265526; and One New Frontier Armory
LW-15 Rifle, caliber 223 SN: NLV73012 claiming that Defendant in rem are
forfeitable to the United States of America because they were involved in or used
in knowing violations of 18 U.S.C. § 922(g). (Doc # 1) Defendants in rem were
seized on or about February 1, 2016 in Southfield, Michigan by Agents of the
Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (“ATF”) from Alan Justice.
The Court issued a Warrant of Arrest, and Notice In Rem for each Defendant
in rem on June 30, 2016. (Doc # 2; Doc # 3; Doc # 4) The Government provided
proof of service of the Complaint in Forfeiture and the Warrants of Arrest and
Notices In Rem made upon Jason Justice, Stephanie Justice, and Alan Justice.
(Doc # 5, filed July 1, 2016) On September 26, 2016, the Government filed a
Declaration of Publication indicating that Notice of Civil Forfeiture was posted on
an official government internet site for at least 30 consecutive days beginning on
July 8, 2016. (Doc # 6) The Government provided proof of service of the
Complaint in Forfeiture and the Warrants of Arrest and Notices In Rem made upon
Stephanie Justice and Debra Justice. (Doc # 7, filed October 31, 2016)
On November 1, 2016, having received no claim to Defendants in rem, an
answer, or any other responsive pleading, the Government requested a Clerk’s
Entry of Default against all interested parties with respect to Defendants in rem.
(Doc # 8) On November 1, 2016, the Clerk entered Default as to all Defendants.
(Doc # 10) On November 4, 2016, the Government filed the instant Motion for
Entry of Default Judgment and Final Order of Forfeiture Against All Interested
Parties as to the Defendants In Rem with an accompanying Affidavit. (Doc # 11;
Doc # 12) The Court held a hearing on December 14, 2016. To date, no interested
party has filed a claim, answer, or response, or otherwise appeared.
A. Standard of Review
An Entry of Default under Rule 55 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure is
the first procedural step necessary to obtain a default judgment. Shepard Claims
Serv. Inc. v. Williams Darrah & Assoc., 796 F.2d 190, 193 (6th Cir. 1986). “When
a party against whom a judgment for affirmative relief is sought has failed to plead
or otherwise defend, and that failure is shown by affidavit or otherwise, the clerk
must enter the party’s default.” Fed. R. Civ. P. 55(a). A default judgment may be
entered by the clerk when the plaintiff’s claim is for a sum certain or a sum which
can be made certain, and the defendant is not an infant or an incompetent person.
Fed. R. Civ. P. 55(b)(1). The court may conduct an accounting, determine amount
of damages, establish the truth of any allegations by evidence, or investigate any
other matter. Fed. R. Civ. P. 55(b)(2).
B. Default Judgment
The Court finds that the Government has met the requirements under the
Supplemental Rules for Admiralty or Maritime Claims and Asset Forfeiture
Actions, including filing the civil forfeiture complaint, sending direct notice to
persons who reasonably appear to be potential claimants, and publishing notice of
the forfeiture action. See Fed. R. Civ. P. Supp. R. G; Doc # 9. The time for any
interested party to file a claim for Defendants in rem has now expired. See Fed. R.
Civ. P. Supp. R. G(5). No interested party has filed a claim, answer, or response.
The Government has filed an Affidavit indicating that, based on an investigation
conducted by ATF, it is informed and believes that potential claimants Alan
Justice, Jason Justice, Stephanie Justice, and Debra Justice are not minors,
incompetent persons, or in the military service of the United States. (Doc # 11) A
Clerk’s Entry of Default was entered on November 1, 2016. (Doc # 10)
Plaintiffs now seek a default judgment under Rule 55. Plaintiffs submitted
proof of service indicating that potential claimants were served with the Clerk’s
Entry of Default, the Government’s instant Motion, and the Proposed Default
Judgment and Final Order of Forfeiture. (Doc # 13) The Clerk served the Notice
of Hearing on the Motion for Default Judgment. (Doc # 14) The Court grants the
Government’s Motion for Entry of Default Judgment and Final Order of Forfeiture
Against All Interested Parties as to the Defendants In Rem.
For the reasons set forth above,
IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that the Government’s Motion for Entry of
Default Judgment and Final Order of Forfeiture Against All Interested Parties as to
the Defendants In Rem (Doc # 12) is GRANTED.
S/Denise Page Hood
Denise Page Hood
Chief Judge, United States District Court
Dated: April 27, 2017
I hereby certify that a copy of the foregoing document was served upon counsel of
record on April 27, 2017, by electronic and/or ordinary mail.
S/LaShawn R. Saulsberry
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