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United States v. Approximately $16

IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE EASTERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA


July 13, 2010

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, PLAINTIFF,
v.
APPROXIMATELY $16,923.70 IN U.S. CURRENCY, DEFENDANT.

JOINT STATUS REPORT; STIPULATION FOR FURTHER STAY OF PROCEEDINGS; ORDER AND [PROPOSED ]

Plaintiff United States of America ("Plaintiff") and claimants Eric Engstrom ("Engstrom") and Mona Colomb ("Claimants"), by and through their respective counsel, hereby submit the following Joint Status Report in accordance with the Court's Order as filed in this action on December 22, 2009.

(a) Summary of the Claims

On July 28, 2009, Plaintiff filed a verified complaint in this action ("Complaint"). The defendant in this action is described as Approximately $16,923.70 in U.S. Currency ("defendant currency"). The defendant currency was seized on or about February 20, 2009, at 14964 Lake Lane, Nevada City, California, and is in the custody of the United States Marshals Service, Eastern District of California. As set forth in the Complaint, the defendant currency constitutes money or other things of value furnished or intended to be furnished by any person in exchange for a controlled substance or listed chemical in violation of 21 U.S.C. § 841 et seq., proceeds traceable to such an exchange, and/or moneys used or intended to be used to facilitate any violation of 21 U.S.C. § 841 et seq.

On November 12, 2009, Claimants filed a Claim to the defendant property. On November 23, 2009, they filed an Answer to the Complaint.

(b) Status of Service on All Defendants and Cross Defendants

All known potential claimants have been served with the Complaint, Notice of Complaint, Application and Order for Publication, and Court Notices. Accordingly, service is complete.

(c) Possible Joinder of Additional Parties None.

(d) Contemplated Amendments to the Pleadings

None.

(e) Statutory Basis of Jurisdiction and Venue

This Court has jurisdiction in this matter pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1345 and 28 U.S.C. § 1355(a). Venue is proper in this district pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1355(b) and 28 U.S.C. § 1395.

(f) Written Report Outlining Proposed Discovery Plan under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 26(f)

As of the December 1, 2006, amendments to Rule 26 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, civil forfeiture actions are exempt from the initial disclosure requirements applicable to 2 most other civil actions. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 26(a)(1)(E)(ii).

Rather than fully schedule this case at this time, the Parties jointly request a further stay of proceedings in this matter pending the state prosecution of Claimant Eric Engstrom in Superior Court of California for the County of Nevada, Case No. SF09-079. A further stay is requested pursuant to 18 U.S.C. §§ 981(g)(1) and 981(g)(2) and 21 U.S.C. § 881(i), based on the following reasons:

The United States contends that the defendant currency constitutes money or other things of value furnished or intended to be furnished by any person in exchange for a controlled substance or listed chemical in violation of 21 U.S.C. § 841 et seq., proceeds traceable to such an exchange, and/or moneys used or intended to be used to facilitate any violation of 21 U.S.C. § 841 et seq. The United States intends to depose Engstrom about the claim he filed in this case; his involvement in and/or knowledge of drug-trafficking; the source of the funds seized; and other facts as alleged in the Complaint. If Engstrom as a claimant in this action invokes his Fifth Amendment rights, the United States will be deprived of its ability to explore the factual bases underlying Engstrom's claim in this action and to examine the assertions he has raised in the Answer he has filed herein.

Engstrom as a claimant in this action will, in turn, seek to depose law enforcement officers who participated in the seizure of the defendant currency on February 20, 2009, facts of which also form the basis of the pending criminal case against Engstrom. Allowing the depositions of the officers would potentially and adversely affect the ability of the State of California to conduct its criminal prosecution against Eric Engstrom.

Accordingly, the Parties agree that proceeding with this action at this time has potential adverse effects on the prosecution of the related criminal cases and/or upon Engstrom's ability to prove his claim to the property and/or assert any defenses to forfeiture. For these reasons, the Parties jointly request that this matter be further stayed pending the outcome of the state criminal prosecution, at which time the Parties will advise the Court whether a further stay is necessary.

(g) Proposed Discovery Cut-Off Date

In light of the requested further stay, the parties ask that the case not be scheduled at this time.

(h) Proposed Date for All Motions to be Filed and Heard

In light of the requested further stay, the parties ask that the case not be scheduled at this time.

(i) Proposed Modification of Standard Pretrial Proceedings

In light of the requested further stay, the parties ask that the case not be scheduled at this time.

(j) Estimated Length of Trial

Not likely to exceed three (3) days.

(k) Related to Any Other Case

State of California v. Eric Engstrom, Case No. SF09-079, Superior Court of California for the County of Nevada.

(l) Matters Under Local Rule 16-240 Adding to Just and Expeditious Disposition of Matter

None.

(m) Identification by Non-governmental Corporate Party of Parent and Subsidiary Corporations

None.

ORDER

For the reasons set forth above, this action is stayed further pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 981(g)(1), 18 U.S.C. § 981(g)(2), and 21 U.S.C. § 881(i) until the conclusion of the criminal case, at which time the Parties will advise the Court whether a further stay is necessary. The Scheduling Conference is continued to January 24, 2011 at 2:00 p.m.

IT IS SO ORDERED.

20100713

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