United States District Court, E.D. New York
SYLVESTER DZIENNIK; MIECZYSLAW KIERSZTYN; FERDYNAND KOBIEROSKI, individually and on behalf of all persons similarly situated, Plaintiffs,
SEALIFT, INC.; SEALIFT HOLDINGS, INC.; FORTUNE MARITIME, INC.; SAGAMORE SHIPPING, INC.; VICTORY MARITIME, INC., Defendants. JOSEF FELSKOWSKI, Plaintiff,
SEALIFT, INC.; SAGAMORE SHIPPING, INC., Defendants.
L. Irizarry Chief Judge
11, 2017, Sylvester Dziennik, Mieczyslaw Kiersztyn, and
Ferdinand Kobieroski (together, “Class
Plaintiffs”), moved for an order increasing the $33,
000, 000 security and liens against various vessels and an
escrow account owned by defendants, as set by an Order dated
May 10, 2013. See Mot. to Amend Order, Dkt. Entry
No. 243; Memo. of Law in Support of Motion to Increase
Security (“Pls.' Mem.”), Dkt. Entry No. 244;
Order dated May 10, 2013 (“May 10th Order”), Dkt.
Entry No. 193. Defendants Sealift, Inc.; Sealift
Holdings, Inc.; Fortune Maritime, Inc.; Sagamore Shipping,
Inc.; and Victory Maritime, Inc. (“Defendants”)
oppose Class Plaintiffs' motion, and have cross-moved to
decrease the security and liens. See Defs.'
Cross Mot. to Amend Order, Dkt Entry No. 245; Defs.' Mem.
of Law in Opp'n to Pls.' Mot. and in Support of
Cross-Mot. to Amend Order (“Defs.' Mem.”),
Dkt. Entry No. 246. For the reasons set forth below,
Plaintiffs' motion and Defendants' cross-motion are
with the facts and procedural history of this case is
presumed. The May 10th Order set out two criteria
for revising the amount of the security and liens secured in
It is further ORDERED that: If: a) it becomes necessary for
Defendants to sell the MAJ. Bernard F. Fisher, the TSGT JOHN
A. CHAPMAN or the SS SAGAMORE; or b) a further Order,
Decision or Ruling of the Court indicates that
Plaintiffs' claims, fairly stated, may entitle them to
liens significantly less than, or significantly greater than
$33, 000, 000, Plaintiffs or Defendants may apply to the
Court to apply the Notices of Claims of Liens to different or
additional vessels in Defendants' fleet, or to increase
or to decrease the amounts stated in the Notices of Claims of
10th Order at ¶ 7.
Plaintiffs' opening brief contends that the Court's
May 4, 2017 Order (“May 4th Order”), which
transferred a $3 million lien from the SS ADVANTAGE to the
CAPT DAVID I LYON, after the inadvertent sale of the SS
ADVANTAGE, justifies their motion. See Pls.'
Mem.at 5 (citing Order dated May 4, 2017, Dkt. Entry No.
242). In opposition, Defendants argue that the May 4th Order
does not justify adjusting the security and liens, but they
also argue that the Court's September 30, 2013 Memorandum
and Order (“September 30th Order”) denying
Defendants' summary judgment motion on the ground of
laches and determining the applicable laches period and
burdens of proof warrants decreasing the security and liens.
See Defs.' Mem. at 1, 13-15; Dziennik v.
Sealift, Inc., 2013 WL 5502916, at *1 (Sept. 30, 2013).
In reply, Class Plaintiffs join Defendants' position that
the September 30, 2013 Memorandum and Order justifies
adjusting the security and liens. See Pls.'
Reply Mem. of Law in Support of Mot. to Amend Order and in
Opp'n to Cross-Mot. to Amend Order (“Pls.'
Reply”), Dkt. Entry No. 247, at 6.
Court is not persuaded that either the May 4th Order or the
September 30th Order “indicates that Plaintiffs'
claims . . . may entitle them to liens significantly less
than, or significantly more than $33, 000, 000.” The
May 4th Order simply permitted the transfer of a lien against
an inadvertently sold vessel to a new vessel in
Defendants' fleet, an action that the Court has routinely
permitted. See May 4th Order, at 2 (noting two
previous transfers of liens). The Order did not change in any
way the value of Class Plaintiffs' claims. While the
September 30th Order determined which period applied for the
defense of laches, the Court held that “[g]enuine
issues of material fact remain as to the defense of laches,
” and did not determine whether the parties met their
respective burdens under the doctrine of laches.
Dziennik, 2013 WL 5502916, at *11. Accordingly,
absent a decision on whether the doctrine of laches applies,
the Court cannot conclude that Class Plaintiffs' claims
entitle them to significantly more or less than $33, 000,
Court is equally unpersuaded by Class Plaintiffs'
contention that the security and liens should be increased
because of accumulated prejudgment interest. See
Pls.' Mem. at 5. As Class Plaintiffs acknowledge,
awarding prejudgment interest is “ultimately within the
discretion of the court.” Id. at 8;
Central Hudson Gas & Elec. Corp. v. Empresa Naviera
Santa S.A., 56 F.3d 359, 372 (2d Cir. 1995) (“[I]t
is well established in this Circuit that the allowance of
prejudgment interest in admiralty is a matter committed to
the district court's discretion.”). The Court has
not issued any “Order, Decision or Ruling”
determining the applicability of prejudgment interest or the
applicable rate of any prejudgment interest.
the Court is not convinced that Defendants are entitled to
transfer the liens against the escrow account to
Defendants' vessels, the SSG EDWARD A. CARTER JR. and the
LTC JOHN U.D. PAGE. Defs.' Mem. at 15-16. Notably, the
Court denied Defendants' previous request for this relief
in its May 10th Order, and Defendants have offered no
additional justification for revisiting that decision at this
juncture. Accordingly, the Court finds no reason to adjust
the security and liens as currently in place. Class
Plaintiffs' motion to increase the security and liens,
and Defendants' cross-motion to decrease the security and
liens, or transfer the liens against the escrow account to
other vessels, are both denied.
 Unless otherwise specified, all docket
entry citations are to the lead case, Dziennik v.