from the United States District Court for the Southern
District of Florida D.C. Docket No. 1:17-cv-22856-KMW
MARCUS, WILLIAM PRYOR, and ROSENBAUM, Circuit Judges.
WILLIAM PRYOR, Circuit Judge:
appeal from the denial of a warrant in rem for the
arrest of a vessel requires us to decide whether we have
interlocutory jurisdiction, and if so, whether John Minott
established that the injury he allegedly suffered while
boarding the Brunello entitles him to a warrant
in rem for the arrest of the vessel. Minott filed a
complaint against the Brunello and other parties
alleging that he was entitled to enforce a maritime lien
against the Brunello for damages arising from a
maritime tort. He then moved the district court to direct the
clerk to issue a warrant in rem for the arrest of
the Brunello, but the district court denied the
motion. In addition to expressing doubt about whether
Minott's claim fell within its maritime jurisdiction, 28
U.S.C. § 1333, the district court ruled that
Minott's claim did not "give rise to a
'maritime lien' supporting the in rem
seizure of the [v]essel" based on the erroneous premise
that maritime liens arise only by statute and not by
operation of the general maritime law. It also denied
Minott's motion for reconsideration. We have
interlocutory jurisdiction, id. § 1292(a)(3),
Minott's claim for a maritime tort against the
Brunello falls within the admiralty jurisdiction of
the district court, id. § 1333(1), and Minott
is entitled to a warrant in rem, Fed.R.Civ.P. Supp.
R. C(3)(a)(i). We reverse and remand with instructions to
direct the clerk to issue a warrant in rem for the
arrest of the Brunello.
Minott worked for Butch Kemp Designs, a marine engineering
firm hired to perform maintenance and repairs aboard the
Brunello while it was docked in navigable waters in
Dania, Florida. Minott attempted to board the vessel, but
when he was walking up the gangway "the [v]essel['s]
captain or crew, suddenly and without warning, put the
engines in gear, causing the gangway . . . to detach from the
[v]essel and fall overboard, together with [Minott]."
Minott suffered "severe injuries to his head, neck, and
filed a "verified complaint to enforce a maritime lien
for damages arising from a maritime tort" in the
district court. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 9(h); S.D. Fla.
Adm. & Mar. R. B(2). The complaint asserted an in
rem claim against the Brunello and in
personam claims against other individual and corporate
defendants. Minott then moved the district court to direct
the clerk to issue a warrant in rem for the arrest
of the vessel. See Fed. R. Civ. P. Supp. R.
C(3)(a)(i); S.D. Fla. Adm. & Mar. R. B(3)(a). He
explained that the tort was "cognizable under admiralty
jurisdiction, " that he was "entitled to a maritime
lien, " that he was "entitled to arrest the
[v]essel and litigate directly against [it] in rem,
" and that the vessel was "transitory in nature and
at risk of leaving the jurisdiction of [the district court]
if not immediately arrested."
district court denied the motion without prejudice after
finding that Minott failed to "establish good cause for
the issuance of a warrant in rem." It concluded
that a maritime tort cannot "form the basis for a
maritime lien" and cited a federal statute, 46 U.S.C.
§ 31342, that grants a lien to "a person providing
necessaries to a vessel." The district court also
explained that its "uncertainty" whether
Minott's "claim [fell] under maritime jurisdiction .
. . weigh[ed] against issuing a warrant." Although it
did not decide the question, the district court suggested
that it lacked jurisdiction because Minott's
"activity . . . [was] not significantly tied to maritime
activity" and his accident had "minimal"
potential to "disrupt . . . maritime commerce."
moved for reconsideration and cited caselaw where plaintiffs
filed in rem actions against vessels for maritime
torts. The district court denied the motion. It explained
that Minott's original motion sought a warrant only
"based on 46 U.S.C. [section] 31301(5)(B)" and that
he could not "raise [new] arguments" that he was
"entitled to a warrant of arrest under [other]
authorities." It also explained that these authorities
"still . . . [failed to] convince [it] that alleged tort
victims . . . are entitled to issuance of a warrant of arrest
in rem upon filing a complaint."
appealed and invoked our interlocutory jurisdiction, 28
U.S.C. § 1292(a)(3).
II. STANDARD OF REVIEW
a party's claim give[s] rise to a maritime lien is a
legal question that is reviewed de novo, "
Salvors, Inc. v. Unidentified Wrecked & Abandoned
Vessel, 861 F.3d 1278, 1297 (11th Cir. 2017), as is
"[t]he [d]istrict [c]ourt's application of admiralty
law and the local rules implementing that law, "
Isbrandtsen Marine Servs. v. M/V Inagua Tania, 93
F.3d 728, 733 (11th Cir. 1996). Under Federal Rule of Civil
Procedure Supplemental Rule C, we review the facts alleged in
the "complaint and . . . supporting papers" to
determine "[i]f the conditions for an in rem
action [and warrant] appear to exist." Fed.R.Civ.P.
Supp. R. C(3)(a)(i) (italics added).
divide our discussion in two parts. First, we explain that we
have interlocutory jurisdiction over this appeal. Second, we
explain that the district court erred when it refused to
direct the ...