A claim for property has to be filed within the prescribed time limit. However, a district court does not misuse its discretion in dismissing claims that are not filed within the prescribed time or for failure to submit reason for not filing the claim on time. To acquire the right to file an answer one has to file a claim. The answer will be stricken off the record if claim is not filed. The court strictly applies the rule of timely filing of claim in forfeiture proceedings.
According to Federal Supplemental Admiralty Rules, mere prayer for return of property is not sufficient to constitute a “claim.” Therefore, a motion to amend the claim will not stand because amendment is not possible of a claim that does not exist.
Pleadings that do not strictly comply with the Federal Supplemental Admiralty Rules could be sufficient to constitute a claim in specific instances. Such pleadings have to establish adequate interest in the property. Similarly, a motion for summary judgment may also be sufficient to prevent sale of the property for default. Such a motion can be considered by the admiralty court since it can be filed at any time.
In United States v. Two Hundred & One, Fifty Pound Bags of Furazolidone, 52 F.R.D. 222, 223 (D.N.D. 1971), forfeiture action was commenced by the United States against 201 fifty-pound bags of Furazolidone seized within the District of North Dakota by agents of the Bureau of Customs, U. S. Treasury Department, from the defendant. While deciding the case, the court opined that “since a motion for summary judgment pursuant to Fed.Rules Civ. Proc. rule 56 may be made at any time by an adverse party and as such motion stays proceedings until such time as it is either granted or denied, it would not be inconsistent to consider a Rule 56 motion prior to requiring compliance with the Supplemental Rules for Certain Admiralty and Maritime Claims.”