Ninth Circuit Holds that Rule B Attachments Must Be Vacated When the Plaintiff Has Failed to Show a Valid Prima Facie Admiralty Claim

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Under Rule B of the Supplemental Admiralty Rules, a plaintiff can only attach a defendant’s property if four conditions are met: (1) plaintiff has a valid prima facie admiralty claim against the defendant; (2) defendant cannot be found within the district; (3) property of the defendant can be found within the district; and (4) there is no statutory or maritime law bar to the attachment. The Supplemental Rules permit the defendant to object to the attachment through a Rule E hearing, at which the defendant argues that one of the four conditions has not been met. The burden is on the plaintiff to demonstrate that the attachment should continue. At issue in this case was whether Equatorial Marine Fuel Management Services (”Equatorial”) had carried its burden to show a valid prima facie admiralty claim against MISC Berhad (”MISC”).

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