UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE CENTRAL DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA WESTERN DIVISION
January 14, 2009
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, PLAINTIFF,
REAL PROPERTY IN SYLMAR, CALIFORNIA, DEFENDANT.
CIRINO MELERO AND ESPERANZA MELERO, CLAIMANTS.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: The Honorable George H. King United States District Judge
CONSENT JUDGMENT [NOTICE OF LODGING CONSENT JUDGMENT LODGED CONCURRENTLY HEREWITH]
On September 18, 2007, plaintiff United States of America ("plaintiff" or the "government") filed a Complaint for Forfeiture against the defendant real property*fn1 located at 13370 Dronfield Street, Sylmar, California 91342 (the "defendant property"). The government alleged that the defendant property was subject to forfeiture pursuant to 21 U.S.C. § 881(7).
Claimants Cirino Melero and Esperanza Melero (collectively "claimants") filed verified claims and answers on December 28, 2007. No other claims, statements of interest, or answers have been filed, and the time for filing claims, statements, and answers has expired.
The government and claimants have agreed to settle this forfeiture action and to avoid further litigation.
The Court having been duly advised of and having considered the matter, and based upon the consent of plaintiff and claimants,
IT IS HEREBY ORDERED, ADJUDGED, AND DECREED:
1. This Court has jurisdiction over this action pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §§ 1345 and 1355.
2. The Complaint for Forfeiture states a claim for relief pursuant to 21 U.S.C. § 881(7).
3. Notice of this action has been given as required by law. Claimants filed the only claims and answers. The Court deems that all other potential claimants admit the allegations of the Complaint for Forfeiture to be true.
4. Claimants agree to forfeiture as set out below. A judgment of forfeiture is hereby entered in favor of the United States, which shall dispose of the following defendant property in accordance with the law:
(A) The defendant real property shall be appraised by the government.
(B) Upon receipt of the appraisal, claimants shall pay to the government, as a settlement, forty-five percent (45%) of the current appraised value, which shall be condemned and forfeited to the United States in accordance with law. Payment shall be made in the form of a cashier's check payable to the United States Treasury Department. The cashier's check shall be delivered to Assistant United States Attorney Frank D. Kortum at United States Courthouse, 411 West Fourth Street, Suite 8000, Santa Ana, California 92701.
(C) Thereafter, the government shall file an original withdrawal of lis pendens, which shall be recorded in the Los Angeles Recorder's Office.
5. Claimants will execute further documents, to the extent necessary, to convey clear title to the defendant property and to further implement the terms of this Consent Judgment.
6. Claimants waive the redacting and sealing requirements of L.R. 79-5.4.
7. Claimants hereby release the United States of America, its agencies, officers, and employees, including employees of the Drug Enforcement Agency, and local law enforcement agencies, their agents, officers, and employees, from any and all claims, actions, or liabilities arising out of or related to this action, including, without limitation, any claim for attorneys' fees, costs, or interest on behalf of claimants, whether pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2465 or otherwise.
8. The Court finds that there was reasonable cause for the institution of these proceedings against the defendant real property. This judgment shall be construed as a certificate of reasonable cause pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2465.
9. The Court further finds that claimants did not substantially prevail in this action, and the parties shall bear their own attorneys' fees and other costs of litigation.
The government and claimants consent to judgment and waive any right to appeal.
DATED: January 5, 2009
THOMAS P. O'BRIEN United States Attorney
CHRISTINE C. EWELL Assistant United States Attorney Chief, Criminal Division
STEVEN R. WELK Assistant United States Attorney Chief, Asset Forfeiture Section
FRANK D. KORTUM Assistant United States Attorney Attorneys for Plaintiff United States of America
DATED: January 4, 2009
LAW OFFICES OF DONOVAN J. DUNNION DONOVAN J. DUNNION Attorney for Claimants Cirino Melero and Esperanza Melero