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Filing of Claim and Answer

Any party willing to return a specific property has to emphasize its ownership undoubtedly in issue by filing a claim before commencing the foreclosure and sale of the property.  A property claim which is the subject of an in rem action has to be filed within ten days after the execution process or completion of notice of publication, which ever is earlier, or within the time permitted by the court.  The person claiming a right of possession or ownership of a property has to serve the answer within twenty days after the filing of interest or right.  No time limit is applicable to exercise discretion on granting additional time to file a claim.  However, the court should exercise discretion only where the purpose fundamental to time restriction and verification requirement are satisfied.  Answers should also be served to interrogatories served with the complaint.

A claim for right of possession of property has to be verified.  The claimant’s basis for restitution or right to defend the action should be clearly stated in the claim.  If a claim is made by an agent, bailee, or attorney on behalf of the person entitled to possession, such an agent, bailee, or attorney has to state in the claim the authority to file a statement of interest or right against the property on behalf of another.

The subject matter of Bank of New Orleans & Trust Co. v. Marine Credit Corp., 583 F.2d 1063 (8th Cir. Mo. 1978), was the foreclosure of several preferred ship mortgages.  After the sale of vessels, the equipment owner filed a motion to reclaim certain electronic goods which were aboard the vessels.  The proceeds were distributed and motion to reclaim was dismissed by the district court.  The owner’s appeal was dismissed stating that the owner did not take any action to assert its ownership claim before sale of the vessels, or to preserve the district court’s in rem jurisdiction for purposes of appeal.

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