United States District Court, E.D. Louisiana
ORDER AND REASONS
S. VANCE UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
the Court is plaintiff Rockin “D” Marine
Services, LLC's motion for summary judgment on intervenor
Allied Shipyard, Inc.'s claims against defendant M/V SEA
ENDEAVOR. For the following reasons, the Court
grants plaintiff's motion.
and Allied Shipyard both have maritime liens against the M/V
SEA ENDEAVOR. On September 15, 2014, Sea Endeavor, LLC
executed a mortgage on the M/V SEA ENDEAVOR in the amount of
$1, 500, 000 in favor of plaintiff. Plaintiff filed this
mortgage at the U.S. Coast Guard National Vessel
Documentation Center on March 11, 2015. A balance of
$982, 347.11 remains unpaid on the mortgage.
Shipyard provided materials, repair services, and machinery
in the amount of $172, 411.56 to the M/V SEA
ENDEAVOR. Allied Shipyard filed a notice of claim of
lien for these services on February 24, 2016.According to that
notice, the lien was established on December 16,
2015. A balance of $118, 711.56 remains unpaid
for Allied Shipyard's services.
February 9, 2017, plaintiff filed this action to foreclose on
its ship mortgage. The U.S. Marshals Service seized the
vessel on February 13, 2017, pursuant to this Court's
order. Allied Shipyard then intervened to assert
its maritime lien against the M/V SEA ENDEAVOR. The Court
granted plaintiff's motion to enter default against
anyone who failed to appear and file a claim against the
vessel, and directed the Marshals Service to sell the vessel
at public auction. After several auctions with no bids
above the minimum starting bid, plaintiff purchased the
vessel for $10, 000 on August 7, 2017. The Court
confirmed this sale on August 11.
now moves for summary judgment on Allied Shipyard's
claims against the M/V SEA ENDEAVOR. Allied Shipyard does not
oppose plaintiff's motion. No other parties have come
forth with competing claims.
judgment is warranted when “the movant shows that there
is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the movant
is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.”
Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a); see also Celotex Corp. v.
Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322-23 (1986); Little v.
Liquid Air Corp., 37 F.3d 1069, 1075 (5th Cir. 1994).
When assessing whether a dispute as to any material fact
exists, the Court considers “all of the evidence in the
record but refrain[s] from making credibility determinations
or weighing the evidence.” Delta & Pine Land
Co. v. Nationwide Agribusiness Ins. Co., 530 F.3d 395,
398-99 (5th Cir. 2008). All reasonable inferences are drawn
in favor of the nonmoving party, but “unsupported
allegations or affidavits setting forth ‘ultimate or
conclusory facts and conclusions of law' are insufficient
to either support or defeat a motion for summary
judgment.” Galindo v. Precision Am. Corp., 754
F.2d 1212, 1216 (5th Cir. 1985); see also Little, 37
F.3d at 1075. “No genuine dispute of fact exists if the
record taken as a whole could not lead a rational trier of
fact to find for the non-moving party.” EEOC v.
Simbaki, Ltd., 767 F.3d 475, 481 (5th Cir. 2014).
dispositive issue is one on which the moving party will bear
the burden of proof at trial, the moving party “must
come forward with evidence which would entitle it to a
directed verdict if the evidence went uncontroverted at
trial.” Int'l Shortstop, Inc. v. Rally's,
Inc., 939 F.2d 1257, 1264-65 (5th Cir. 1991). The
nonmoving party can then defeat the motion by either
countering with evidence sufficient to demonstrate the
existence of a genuine dispute of material fact, or
“showing that the moving party's evidence is so
sheer that it may not persuade the reasonable fact-finder to
return a verdict in favor of the moving party.”
Id. at 1265.
dispositive issue is one on which the nonmoving party will
bear the burden of proof at trial, the moving party may
satisfy its burden by merely pointing out that the evidence
in the record is insufficient with respect to an essential
element of the nonmoving party's claim. See
Celotex, 477 U.S. at 325. The burden then shifts to the
nonmoving party, who must, by submitting or referring to
evidence, set out specific facts showing that a genuine issue
exists. See id. at 324. The nonmovant may not rest
upon the pleadings, but must identify specific facts that
establish a genuine issue for trial. See, e.g.,
id.; Little, 37 F.3d at 1075 (“Rule
56 mandates the entry of summary judgment, after adequate
time for discovery and upon motion, against a party who fails
to make a showing sufficient to establish the existence of an
element essential to that party's case, and on which that
party will bear the burden of proof at trial.” (quoting
Celotex, 477 U.S. at 322)).
Ship Mortgage Act, 46 U.S.C. § 31301, et seq.,
governs the priority of the claims asserted here.
Specifically, when a vessel is sold at a judicial sale, all
claims against the vessel are terminated and subsequently
attach to the proceeds of the sale. When, as in this case, a
“preferred ship mortgage” is asserted, the order
of priorities is the following: (1) expenses of justice; (2)
preferred maritime liens; (3) the preferred mortgage; and (4)
other maritime liens. See 46 U.S.C. § 31326;
Thomas J. Schoenbaum, Admiralty and Maritime Law
§ 9-6 (5th ed. 2011); see also Governor and Co. of
Bank of Scotland v. Sabay, 211 F.3d 261, 270 (5th Cir.
2000) (“A preferred ship mortgage ‘has priority
over all claims against the vessel (except for expenses and
fees allowed by the court, costs imposed by the court, and
preferred maritime liens).'” (quoting 46 U.S.C.
§ 31326(b)(1))). Under the statute, a “preferred
maritime lien” is defined as a “maritime lien on
a vessel (A) arising before a preferred ...