United States District Court, W.D. North Carolina, Charlotte Division
J. Conrad, Jr.United States District Judge
MATTER is before the Court on the United States of
America's Motion, pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 55(b)(2),
requesting that the Court enter Default Judgment one 2014
Toyota Camry, VIN 4T1BF1FK6EU301244, (Doc. No. 8).
December 27, 2016, the United States filed a Complaint (Doc.
No. 1; “the Complaint”) for Forfeiture in rem of
the Defendant Property. The Complaint alleged that the 2014
Toyota Camry in question was seized after it was abandoned at
Carolina Place Mall while under surveillance by the Charlotte
District Office of the Drug Enforcement Administration. (Doc.
No. 1). A search of the vehicle revealed U.S. currency in the
amount of $229, 765.00 and an undetermined amount of cocaine
(at least one kilogram). (Id.). In its Complaint,
the United States alleges that alleging that Defendant
property was subject to forfeiture pursuant to 21 U.S.C.
§ 881 because it constitutes (1) money, negotiable
instruments, securities and other things of value furnished
and intended to be furnished in exchange for a controlled
substance in violation of the Controlled Substances Act; (2)
proceeds traceable to such an exchange; and (3) money,
negotiable instruments, and securities used and intended to
be used to facilitate a violation of the Controlled
Substances Act. (Id.).
to Rule G(4)(b)(i), copies of the Verified Complaint and
other pertinent documents were sent on January 11, 2017 to
registered owner, Jacqueline Sneed, 2349 SW Pamona Street,
Port St. Lucie, Florida 34953. (Doc. No. 5). Notice of the
pendency of this case was also posted on an official
government internet site (www.forfeiture.gov)
pursuant to Rule G of the Supplemental Rules for Admiralty or
Maritime Claims and Asset Forfeiture Actions for thirty
consecutive days, beginning on January 11, 2017. (Doc. No.
to Supplemental Rule G(5)(a) and (b), any claimant to the
Defendant property was required to file a claim no later than
35 days after the written notice was sent, or 60 days after
the first publication of notice on the official Government
website. Those time periods expired on February 15, 2017 and
March 12, 2017, and no extensions to these time limits have
been requested, consented to, or granted by this Court.
Therefore, on May 24, 1017, the Clerk of Court entered a
Clerk's Entry of Default pursuant to Rule 55(a). (Doc.
Court may enter a default judgment if (1) a party fails to
plead or otherwise defend against a complaint, and (2) the
clerk has entered that party's default. Fed.R.Civ.P.
55(b)(2); United States v. Moradi, 673 F.2d 725, 727
(4th Cir. 1982); see also Pelyn Trust v. Fair Exch.
Trust, No. 3:08-CV-287-RJC, 2009 WL 2912521, at *1 (W.D.
N.C. Sept. 3, 2009) (granting plaintiff's Motion for
Default Judgment where defendants were properly served and
failed to appear).
the factual allegations contained in the Complaint establish
that the defendant property is subject to forfeiture pursuant
to the provisions of 21 U.S.C. §881 and 18 U.S.C.
§981(a)(1)(A) as money furnished or intended to be
furnished in exchange for a controlled substance or money
used or intended to be used to facilitate such a transaction.
See e.g., Ryan v. Homecomings Fin. Network,
253 F.3d 778, 780 (4th Cir. 2001).
addition to the personal notices, the United States has also
provided publication of notice on the official internet
government forfeiture site, www.forfeiture.gov, for
at least thirty consecutive days pursuant to Rule
G(4)(a)(iv)(C) of the Supplemental Rules for Admiralty or
Maritime Claims and Asset Forfeiture Actions. Whiting v.
United States, 231 F.3d 70, 76 (1st Cir. 2000)
(“Due process requires the government to afford an
owner ‘notice and an opportunity to be heard'
before civilly forfeiting his property, but actual
receipt of notice by the defendant is not
automatically required. Rather, ... due process requires the
provision of ‘notice reasonably calculated, under all
the circumstances, to apprise interested parties of the
pendency of the action and afford them an opportunity to
present their objections.'”) (internal quotation
and citations omitted).
other person or entity has filed a claim or answer in this
action and the United States has also shown that Claimants
are not minors, incompetents, or a member of the military.
(Doc. No. 6). Therefore, all of the prerequisites for default
judgment have been met.