The admiralty courts, in satisfaction of a claim, are empowered to attach intangible property. Fed. R. Civ. P. Supp. Admiralty Rule E (4) (c), states the rules to be followed by a holder of intangible property in answering interrogatories. In case of attachment of intangible property the marshal may:
- leave with the garnishee or other obligor a copy of complaint and process requiring him/her to answer interrogatories; or
- accept deposit into the registry of the court an amount equal to the amount claimed by the plaintiff with interest and costs.
If the marshal leaves with the garnishee or obligor the copy complaint and process, the garnishee shall retain possession of intangible property. In answering the interrogatories, the garnishee is to follow all the necessary requirements stated in Fed. R. Civ. P. Supp. Admiralty Rule B (3) (a). Accordingly, a holder of an intangible property shall file answer to the interrogatories within 21 days of notice. If the garnishee deposits the amount in registry, he/she need not answer interrogatories unless separate process is served.
Moreover, in an action in rem, the person asserting a right of possession or ownership in the property must file a verified statement of right or interest. The statement of interest shall be filed within 14 days of the execution of process. or within the time allowed by the court. The person filing the statement must describe his/her interest in the property. Such interest must support the person’s demand for restitution and the right to defend. When the statement is filed by an agent, bailee or attorney on behalf of the other person, the representative should state the authority under which the statement is filed.[i] Moreover, the person asserting right of possession or ownership, must also serve an answer within 21 days of filing the statement of interest.
In an in rem action, interrogatories may be served to the complainant even without leave of a court. And the answers to the interrogatories are served with the answers to the complaint.[ii]
[i] Fed. R. Civ. P. Supp. Admiralty Rule C(6)(a).
[ii] Fed. R. Civ. P. Supp. Admiralty Rule C(6)(b)