Spence v. The Scattered, Co-Mingled, Unidentified, Wrecked and (for finders-right purposes) Abandoned, Vessels and Jetsam
ORDER ADOPTING THE REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION, finding the plaintiff is the true and exclusive owner of the Abandoned Wreckage and granting plaintiff's motion for summary judgment, for 22 Report and Recommendation, 21 Motion for Summary Judgment filed by Edward L Spence, Signed by Chief Judge Terry L Wooten on June 16, 2016. (kbos)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE DISTRICT OF SOUTH CAROLINA
Edward L. Spence,
The Scattered, Commingled, Unidentified, )
Wrecked, and (for finders-right purposes) )
Abandoned, Vessels and Jetsam,
located within an area enclosed by
a line running from 27°08’N, 79°12’W
to 27°24’N, 79°07’W to
27°23.9’N, 78°38.43’W and returning to
27°08’N, 79°12’W, excluding any portion )
of same within the 12 mile limits of the
Territorial Sea of any sovereign nation,
Civil Action No.: 3:15-3770-TLW
The Plaintiff, Edward L. Spence (“Plaintiff”), filed the instant action by Verified Complaint
in admiralty seeking a determination that Plaintiff is the true and exclusive owner of “the scattered,
commingled, unidentified, wrecked, and (for finders-right purposes) abandoned, vessels and
jetsam, located within an area enclosed by a line running from 27°08’N, 79°12’W to 27°24’N,
79°07’W to 27°23.9’N, 78°38.43’W and returning to 27°08’N, 79°12’W, excluding any portion
of same within the 12 mile limits of the territorial sea of any sovereign nation” (hereinafter the
“Abandoned Wreckage”). (Doc. #1). On October 14, 2015, the Court entered an Order appointing
Plaintiff as substitute custodian of the Abandoned Wreckage (Doc. #11) and an Order directing
the United States Marshal to arrest the Abandoned Wreckage (Doc. #12).
On December 7, 2015, Plaintiff filed a Motion for Summary Judgment (Doc. #21) and an
Affidavit of Publication (Doc. #20; 20-1) confirming that notice of the above-captioned action was
published in The State newspaper on November 18, 19, and 20, 2015, in accordance with the
Court’s directive (Doc. #18) as well as with Rule C(4) of the Supplemental Rules for Certain
Admiralty and Maritime Claims. Plaintiff’s Affidavit states that the publication in The State
regarding the above-captioned action stated that “[any] person having or claiming an interest in or
to [the Abandoned Wreckage] must file a claim with the court within 14 days after the last date of
publication of this notice . . . .” (Doc. #20-1). The period within which to present an adverse claim
with regard to the Abandoned Wreckage at issue in this case expired on December 4, 2015. No
claim was filed by any person or party.
This matter now comes before the Court for review of the Report and Recommendation
(“the Report”) issued on December 9, 2015 by United States Magistrate Judge Shiva V. Hodges,
to whom this case had previously been assigned pursuant to the provisions of 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)
and Local Civil Rule 73.02(B)(2)(d) (D.S.C.). (Doc. #22). In the Report, the Magistrate Judge
recommends that this Court grant Plaintiff’s motion for summary judgment (Doc. #21) and enter
an Order confirming that title to the Abandoned Wreckage lies truly and exclusively with Plaintiff.
(See Doc. #22). Additionally, the Magistrate Judge recommends that this Court enter an Order
relieving the United States Marshal of any further obligation of supervision of the Abandoned
Wreckage and any artifacts recovered therefrom. (Doc. #22). Attached to the Magistrate Judge’s
Report and Recommendation (Doc. #22) was a Notice advising the parties of the right to file
objections to the Report and Recommendation. (See Doc. #22 at 3). No party filed objections to
the Magistrate Judge’s Report. The deadline to file objections expired on December 29, 2015.
(See Doc. #22).
This Court is charged with conducting a de novo review of any portion of the Magistrate
Judge’s Report to which a specific objection is registered, and may accept, reject, or modify, in
whole or in part, the recommendations contained in that report. 28 U.S.C. § 636. In the absence
of objections to the Report of the Magistrate Judge, this Court is not required to give any
explanation for adopting the recommendation. See Camby v. Davis, 718 F.2d 198, 199 (4th Cir.
This Court has carefully reviewed the Magistrate Judge=s Report and Recommendation, the
relevant filings, and the record in this case. After careful consideration, this Court concludes that
the Report is factually and legally correct in finding that Plaintiff is the true and exclusive owner
of the Abandoned Wreckage pursuant to the common law of finds and the law of salvage.
Accordingly, for the reasons articulated by the Magistrate Judge, it is hereby ORDERED that the
Magistrate Judge’s Report and Recommendation is ACCEPTED (Doc. #22), and Plaintiff’s
motion for summary judgment (Doc. #21) is GRANTED. Plaintiff holds title to the abovedescribed Abandoned Wreckage. The United States Marshal is hereby relieved of any further
obligation of supervision of the Abandoned Wreckage.
IT IS SO ORDERED.
s/ Terry L. Wooten
Terry L. Wooten
Chief United States District Judge
June 16, 2016
Columbia, South Carolina
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