Dissolution of Attachment or Garnishment

USCS Admiralty and Maritime Claims R B permits attachment in conjunction with an admiralty or maritime claim if the defendant is not found within the district.[i] In VTT Vulcan Petroleum, S.A. v. Langham-Hill Petroleum, Inc., 684 F. Supp. 389 (S.D.N.Y. 1988) the court held that if the defendant is not found within the district, then a verified complaint in admiralty or maritime proceeding should contain a prayer for process to attach the defendant’s goods and chattels, or credits and effects in the hands of garnishees.

To determine whether the defendant is found within the district for service of process the courts should inquire whether it could be found within the district with due diligence.[ii] In Cantone & Co., Inc. v. SeaFrigo, 2009 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 5620 (S.D.N.Y. Jan. 26, 2009), the court held that a defendant is found within a district where defendant:

  • is found in terms of jurisdiction, and
  • can be found for service of process.

However, when there are no goods, chattels, credits, or effects of the defendant in the hands of the garnishee, then the writ of attachment and garnishment is of no legal effect.[iii] In Oregon by State Highway Com. v. Tug Go Getter, 398 F.2d 873 (9th Cir. Or. 1968), the court held that a writ of foreign attachment is dissolved where personal service upon the defendant is available within the district.  For dissolution of attachment or garnishment, not only should the defendant be able to accept process, but the defendant should also be engaged in sufficient activity in the district to subject it to jurisdiction.[iv] In Narada Shipping, Ltd. v. North Atlantic Oil, Ltd., 398 F. Supp. 95 (S.D. Ala. 1975), the court held that execution of a writ of foreign attachment is improper when after the writ is issued, but before it is executed upon, the defendant submits himself to the in personam jurisdiction of the admiralty court.  Similarly, in Swift & Co. Packers v. Compania Colombiana Del Caribe, S. A., 339 U.S. 684 (U.S. 1950), the court held that a foreign attachment is not dissolved when a defendant subsequently appears in the district.

[i] Siderbulk, Ltd. v. M/S Nagousena, 1992 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 10825 (S.D.N.Y. 1992)

[ii] id

[iii] Western Bulk Carriers, Pty. v. P.S. Int’l, 762 F. Supp. 1302 (S.D. Ohio 1991)

[iv] Cantone & Co., Inc. v. SeaFrigo, 2009 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 5620 (S.D.N.Y. Jan. 26, 2009)


Inside Dissolution of Attachment or Garnishment