United States District Court, N.D. Ohio, Western Division
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
JEFFREY J. HELMICK UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
se Plaintiff Shawn David Barclay filed this action
against Jason Clemons and Thomas Durham. In the Complaint,
Plaintiff alleges Durham verbally contracted with him to
perform repairs to a boat and transport it in exchange for
the boat itself. He contends he has a maritime lien on the
vessel and is entitled to an arrest in rem to obtain
possession and title to the boat.
Complaint contains very few facts. Much of the information
about Plaintiff's legal claim comes from documents he
filed in a parallel state court action, which he initiated in
October 2019, prior to filing this action in federal court.
See Barclay v. Clemons, No. 2019 CV 0566 (Erie Cty
Ct. Comm. Pl. filed Oct. 4, 2019).
disputes at issue in both cases are the ownership of a boat
and what monies, if any, are owed to Plaintiff for repairs he
made to it. The boat originally belonged to Michael
Hasenmeier, who stored it on dry land at the Bay View Storage
lot. The lot and the storage business was owned by the Durham
family. Hasenmeier abandoned the boat, owing storage fees to
the Durham family. In lieu of paying those fees, he agreed to
sign over the title of the boat to Thomas Durham.
was homeless in 2016. He occupied the boat on the lot for ten
days from June 20, 2016 to June 30, 2016, until his presence
was discovered by Durham. At that point, he was told he could
not live on the boat on the lot due to insurance reasons.
Plaintiff contends, however, that Durham told him he could
have the boat if he could remove it from the lot. The boat
was in bad condition and removal was not possible without
substantial repairs. Plaintiff was permitted to enter the
yard to work on the boat from July 5, 2016 to September 7,
2016. He lived in a motel during this time. When the weather
became inclement, Plaintiff left the area with the intention
of returning in the spring to continue work.
2017, Durham informed Plaintiff that the land was being sold
to Clemons. Durham gave Plaintiff another chance to remove
the boat; however, Plaintiff found it difficult to find
someone to remove the boat without insurance and a title.
Durham was not willing to transfer title to the boat unless
Plaintiff removed it from the lot. Durham had a boat trailer
but would not assist Plaintiff with removing it saying it was
Plaintiff's responsibility if he wanted the boat.
Plaintiff asked Clemons to help him move it, but Clemons
refused saying the boat was too old and unsafe to move.
Plaintiff left the United States for Canada saying he had run
out of money and would return the following spring.
returned in the summer of 2018 and learned that the sale of
the land was not complete. He contends he was not obligated
to pay rent for the lot space as he and Durham had an oral
agreement that the boat could stay there free of charge.
Plaintiff returned to Canada in September 2018 with the
understanding that Durham would contact him if the land sold.
2019, Plaintiff returned to the United States to check on
property in Minnesota. He assumed the boat had been lost but
was surprised to see that it was still on the lot. He learned
that the property had been sold to Clemons on July 13, 2019.
Durham also transferred title to the boat to Clemons, as it
was on the lot. Plaintiff arrived in Ohio on September 4,
2019. He begged Clemons not to scrap the boat and allow him
to keep it in the yard until he could move it. Clemons told
him if he wanted the boat to be kept on the lot, he would
have to pay rent. Plaintiff asked for the title and Clemons
refused. Clemons offered to transfer the title to Plaintiff
if he removed the boat from the lot. Plaintiff once again was
unable to find someone willing to move the boat.
that Clemons would scrap the boat, Plaintiff filed a civil
action in the Erie County Court of Common Pleas against
Clemons, Durham, and Durham's wife. On October 23, 2019,
he also filed a Motion for Temporary Injunction to prevent
Clemons from destroying the boat while the action is pending
and permitting him to come onto the lot to secure transfer of
the boat. The court conducted an ex parte hearing on
the Motion and denied it, stating that Plaintiff did not have
standing to bring the Motion because he was not then nor was
he ever the titled owner of the boat. The Defendants answered
the Complaint and Plaintiff filed responses. That matter is
still pending in state court on the issues of what interest,
if any, Plaintiff has in the boat and whether monies are owed
to Plaintiff for work he performed on the boat.
the denial of his Motion, Plaintiff filed the within is action on November 19, 2019,
claiming he has a maritime lien on the boat due to the work
he performed on it. He claims he had an oral agreement with
Durham, the boat's owner, to repair the boat and arrange
transport in exchange for payment. He alleges payment was to
be the boat itself. He contends he was not paid for his
services and therefore he has a maritime lien on the vessel.
He seeks to enforce this lien through an arrest in rem of the
boat and has demanded that the United States Marshals seize
the boat. He asks this Court to award him title to the
pro se pleadings are liberally construed, Boag
v. MacDougall, 454 U.S. 364, 365 (1982) (per curiam);
Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520 (1972), I am
required to dismiss an in forma pauperis action
under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e) if it fails to state a claim
upon which relief can be granted, or if it lacks an arguable
basis in law or fact. Neitzke v. Williams, 490 U.S.
319 (1989); Lawler v. Marshall, 898 F.2d 1196 (6th
Cir. 1990); Sistrunk v. City of Strongsville, 99
F.3d 194, 197 (6th Cir. 1996). A claim lacks an arguable
basis in law or fact when it is premised on an indisputably
meritless legal theory or when the factual contentions are
clearly baseless. Neitzke, 490 U.S. at 327. A cause
of action fails to state a claim upon which relief may be
granted when it lacks “plausibility in the
Complaint.” Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550
U.S. 544, 564 (2007).
pleading must contain a “short and plain statement of
the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to
relief.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal , 556 U.S. 662,
677-78 (2009). The factual allegations in the pleading must
be sufficient to raise the right to relief above the
speculative level on the assumption that all the allegations
in the Complaint are true. Bell Atl. Corp., 550 U.S.
at 555. The Plaintiff is not required to include detailed
factual allegations, but must provide more than “an
accusation.” Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678. A
pleading that offers legal conclusions or a simple recitation
of the elements of a cause of action will not meet this