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United States of America v. Patricia A. Morris

December 10, 2010

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,
PLAINTIFF,
v.
PATRICIA A. MORRIS, DEFENDANT.



FINDINGS & RECOMMENDATIONS

Plaintiff United States of America has brought this action against defendant Patricia A. Morris, alleging that defendant has filed a sham UCC Financing Statement with the State of California purporting to impose liens on the personal property of a federal employee. Plaintiff seeks an order nullifying the filing and enjoining defendant from further such filings. Plaintiff's motion for summary judgment is pending before this court and was submitted for decision following a hearing on November 17, 2010, for which defendant did not appear.

I. Factual and Procedural Background

Plaintiff offers this factual background, which defendant has not opposed:*fn1

In the course of his official Internal Revenue Service ("IRS") duties, Revenue Officer Stephen Bugos was involved in the collection of unpaid taxes from Defendant Patricia Morris. Revenue Officer Bugos sent letters to Morris requesting that she pay her delinquent income taxes. On December 4, 2008, Revenue Officer Bugos caused a Notice of Federal Tax Lien to be filed against Patricia Morris for unpaid federal tax liabilities.

On November 7, 2009, Patricia Morris filed with the Secretary of State for the State of California a UCC Financing Statement, Filing Number 09-7213707743, falsely describing Stephen Bugos as a debtor. Revenue Officer Bugos is not personally acquainted with Patricia Morris and he has not had any contact or relationship with her other than in his official capacity as a Revenue Officer. Revenue Officer Bugos has not engaged in any contract, security agreement, or personal transaction with Patricia Morris and does not owe money to her. There is no legitimate reason for Patricia Morris to impose a lien on Revenue Officer Bugos' personal property.

Revenue Officer Bugos is aware of the false UCC Financing Statement that Patricia Morris filed against him with the California Secretary of State in the amount of $522,220.59. The Financing Statement has caused him to experience distress and anxiety, including concerns that the Financing Statement may have a negative impact on his permanent credit record.

Pl.'s Mem. Supp. Mot. Summ. J. at 1-2 (Docket No. 14-1); see also Pl.'s Stmt. Undisputed Facts (Docket No. 15).

Plaintiff filed a complaint seeking to have the UCC Financing Statement declared null, void, and of no legal effect; that the court expunge and remove any record of the UCC Financing Statement from the official records of the Secretary of State for the State of California; that the court grant leave to file any order or judgment obtained in the present case with the Secretary of State for the State of California, and in the public records of any other jurisdiction where documents identical or similar to the UCC Financing Statement may have been filed by the defendant; and that the court permanently enjoin defendant Patricia A. Morris, her agents, employees, and all others in active concert or participation with the defendant from filing, or attempting to file, any document or instrument that purports to create any nonconsensual lien or encumbrance against the person or property of any employee of the United States. On September 29, 2010, Plaintiff filed a motion for summary judgment, which defendant did not oppose. The court held a hearing on the motion for summary judgment on November 17, 2010, at which defendant did not appear. For the following reasons, this court recommends granting the relief requested by plaintiff.

II. Analysis

Defendant's filings appear to raise lack of subject matter jurisdiction, lack of personal jurisdiction, and lack of venue as defenses. None of the defenses have merit. Furthermore, evidence submitted with Plaintiff's Amended Complaint and summary judgment motion demonstrates that Plaintiff is entitled to the relief it seeks. See Docket Nos. 4 & 14.

A. Jurisdiction and Venue

The court has jurisdiction over this action based on 28 U.S.C. § 1345 and 26 U.S.C. § 7402.

1. Subject Matter Jurisdiction

As provided by 28 U.S.C. § 1345, "the district courts shall have original jurisdiction of all civil actions, suits or proceedings commenced by the United States . . . ." Additionally, pursuant to 26 U.S.C. § 7402(a), "[t]he district courts of the United States at the instance of the United States shall have such jurisdiction to make and issue in civil actions, writs and orders of injunction, and of ne exeat republica,*fn2 orders appointing receivers, and such other orders and processes, and to render such judgments and decrees as may be necessary or appropriate for the enforcement of the internal revenue laws." Under ...


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