Unpublished Disposition, 937 F.2d 614 (9th Cir. 1991)Annotate this Case
UNITED STATES of America, Plaintiff-Appellee,v.$115,962.65, IN U.S. CURRENCY, Defendant,Robert Jan Emerson, Claimant-Appellant.
United States Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit.
Submitted April 9, 1991.* Decided June 28, 1991.
Before PREGERSON, NOONAN and DAVID R. THOMPSON, Circuit Judges.
The United States seized $115,962.65 in United States currency from appellant Robert J. Emerson. Emerson contested the forfeiture of approximately $100,000 seized from his bank accounts by filing a claim of ownership to the currency. Emerson sought an extension of time from the district court to cure defects in his claim. The district court refused to extend the time period for filing a claim because it believed it did not have the authority to grant an extension. The district court then entered a default judgment.
We hold that the district court had discretion to grant the extension Emerson requested. We vacate the district court's judgment and remand for the district court to consider whether an extension should be granted.
In refusing to grant the extension that Emerson requested, the the district court stated it had no authority to grant an extension once the ten-day period of Supplemental Rule C(6) expired. Excerpt of Record at 134-35.
A claimant of property that is the subject of a forfeiture proceeding must file a claim of ownership within ten days after process has been executed. Supplemental Rule C(6) states:
The claimant of property that is the subject of an action in rem shall file a claim within 10 days after process has been executed, or within such additional time as may be allowed by the court, and shall serve an answer within 20 days after the filing of the claim.
Supplemental Rule C(6) (emphasis added). We have held that nothing in Supplemental Rule C(6) imposes a time limit on the district court's discretion to extend the time for filing a claim. United States v. 1982 Yukon Delta Houseboat, 774 F.2d 1432, 1435 (9th Cir. 1985) (application to file claim filed more than one year after execution of process; held, district court "erred in ruling that it had no discretion to extend the time for the filing of a verified claim, and in failing to consider all factors relevant to the exercise of that discretion").
The district court's ruling that it had no discretion to extend the time for filing a valid claim resulted in the entry of the default judgment against Emerson. Because the district court has never considered the factors relevant to its discretion, we vacate the default judgment and remand the case so that the district court can consider the relevant factors and determine if an extension should be granted.
VACATED and REMANDED.