United States District Court, D. Connecticut
Vanessa L. Bryant, United States District Judge
matter having come before the Court upon motion of Plaintiff
Abruzese Yacht Sales, LLC (“Abruzese”) for an
Order Granting Default Judgment in favor of Abruzese and
against the Defendant Vessel (Official # 1098807) including
its engines, tackle, equipment, and appurtenances, etc.,
(hereinafter collectively "Vessel") arising out of
a Verified Complaint relating to unpaid storage charges, and
the Court having considered the papers supporting the motion,
and there being no appearances filed in this action and no
opposition filed, it is on this 28th day of October, 2019
ORDERED AND ADJUDGED as follows:
1. Default judgment is hereby ordered in favor of Abruzese
against the Vessel, in the amount of a sum certain of $109,
387.99. Plaintiff seeks a total of $109, 387.99 for past due
invoices for storage and an additional $42, 297.73 for unpaid
repairs and maintenance from 2009 through the commencement of
this action. [Dkt. 1 (Compl.) ¶¶ 12-15]
However, the exhibits to the verified complaint do not
contain any of the invoices or documentation sufficient to
show what repairs and maintenance, other than storage costs,
were provided to the Vessel but unpaid by the owner.
Id. at Ex. A. Tami Abruzese's declaration
explains that the $42, 297.73 is the carried over outstanding
balance but does not provide itemization. [Dkt. 14 (Abruzese
Decl.) ¶¶ 6-7]. The invoices for repairs and
maintenance, which are itemized, are prior to 2009 and were
paid by the Vessel's owner. Id. ¶ 5.
“Even when a default judgment is warranted based on a
party's failure to defend, the allegations in the
complaint with respect to the amount of the damages are not
deemed true. The district court must instead conduct an
inquiry in order to ascertain the amount of damages with
reasonable certainty.” Credit Lyonnais Sec. (USA),
Inc. v. Alcantara, 183 F.3d 151, 155 (2d Cir.
1999)(citations omitted). Abruzese may file documentation
supporting their claim for $42, 297.73 for repairs and
maintenance for the Vessel within seven days, otherwise, the
judgment in the amount of $109, 387.99 shall be final.
2. The Court declines to award attorney fees. “The
general rule is that the award of fees and expenses in
admiralty actions is discretionary with the district judge
upon a finding of bad faith.” Ingersoll Mill. Mach.
Co. v. M/V Bodena, 829 F.2d 293, 309 (2d Cir. 1987).
Abruzese did not allege bad faith, nor did Abruzese allege a
contractual basis for attorney fees. Additionally, attorney
fees do not constitute a “necessary” because they
are not reasonably related to the Vessel's business and
were incurred by the Plaintiff. See Constructive Hands,
Inc. v. Baker, 446 F.Supp.2d 88, 98 (N.D.N.Y. 2006); Sears v.
Sailing Vessel "Smithereens", No. ELH-13-3389,
2014 WL 2707633, at *5 (D. Md. June 13, 2014)(same).
3. A maritime lien shall be and hereby is fixed on the Vessel
for the amount of the default judgment ($109, 387.99) and the
Vessel is hereby condemned for public sale. Such amount may
be modified to include $42, 297.73 sought for repairs, should
Abruzese provide sufficient documentation necessary for the
Court to ascertain the amount of damages with reasonable
certainty for repairs and maintenance within seven days.
4. The Vessel shall be sold free and clear of all claims,
encumbrances and liens at an auction sale to be held under
the auspices of the United States Marshal for the District of
5. The Clerk of the Court shall issue a Writ of Venditioni
Exponas to the United States Marshal for public sale of the
Vessel to the highest bidder deemed eligible under 46 U.S.C.
§ 31329, with such sale being subject to confirmation by
6. The U.S. Marshal is authorized and directed to conduct the
public sale of the Vessel to the highest responsible bidder
deemed eligible under 46 U.S.C. § 31329, such sale to be
subject to the confirmation of this Court.
7. To the extent not previously paid, all of the expenses of
the U.S. Marshal in connection with the public sale,
including without limitation the costs of publication, shall
be paid in advance by Abruzese.
8. Prior to the Vessel's sale, Abruzese shall cause to be
published notice of the auction once in the Connecticut Post
at least 14 days before the auction. The notice is to be in
substantially the following form:
OF U.S. MARSHAL'S SALE OF VESSEL
order of the U.S. District Court, District of CT entered on
October 28, 2019, 2019, in the case of Abruzese Yacht Sales,
LLC v. M/Y Nipper (O.N. 1098807), her engines, tackle,
equipment, and appurtenances, in rem, the U.S.
Marshal will sell by public auction at Birbarie Marine Sales,
Inc. located at 7 Indian Neck Ave. Branford, CT 06405, on,
2019, at .m., the M/Y Nipper, AS IS, WHERE IS. A copy of the
sale order may be obtained ...