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United States of America v. James O. Molen

July 12, 2012

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, PLAINTIFF,
v.
JAMES O. MOLEN, ET AL., DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Kendall J. Newman United States Magistrate Judge

ORDER

Presently before the court are two virtually identical motions filed by defendant James O. Molen entitled "Motion To Accept Notice of Debt Note Exchanges and No Taxable Event Income Received As Conditional Facts Before the Court" (Dkt. Nos. 111, 113).*fn1 Although it is not entirely clear precisely what relief Mr. Molen seeks through his motions, Mr. Molen appears to seek an order of the court concluding or establishing that his defenses to plaintiff's claims have factual and legal merit. Plaintiff opposes Mr. Molen's motion (Dkt. No. 114).

Despite the fact that these motions could have readily been submitted without a hearing, the court heard these matters on its July 12, 2012 law and motion calendar to accommodate Mr. Molen's written "demand" for a hearing. Defendant James O. Molen, who is proceeding without an attorney, appeared via telephone and represented himself and the estate of his late wife, defendant Sandra L. Molen.*fn2 Attorney G. Patrick Jennings appeared via telephone on behalf of plaintiff.

The undersigned has fully considered the various moving and opposition papers, the parties' oral arguments, and appropriate portions of the record in this case. For the reasons that follow, the undersigned denies Mr. Molen's motions.*fn3

I. BACKGROUND

Through this civil action, the United States generally seeks the following: "(a) to reduce to judgment federal tax assessments against James O. Molen and Sandra L. Molen . . . and the James Orbin Molen Limited Partnership; (b) to adjudicate that Black Hole Adventures, a family trust, and the James Orbin Molen Limited Partnership are the nominees, alter egos, and fraudulent transferees of the taxpayers; and (c) to foreclose federal tax liens and a judgment lien against certain real property." (Compl. ¶ 1.) Plaintiff alleges that the Internal Revenue Service ("IRS") assessed unpaid taxes against Mr. Molen and the James Orbin Molen Limited Partnership, and also assessed "frivolous tax return" penalties against Mr. and Mrs. Molen. (See, e.g., id. ¶¶ 19, 22-24, 26, 32.)

On May 24, 2012, Mr. Molen filed his first motion entitled "Motion To Accept Notice of Debt Note Exchanges and No Taxable Event Income Received As Conditional Facts Before the Court" (Dkt. No. 111). After the court continued the hearing date on its motion (Minute Order, Dkt. No. 112), Mr. Molen filed a second motion of the same name that is virtually identical to the first such motion (Dkt. No. 113).

The undersigned notes that in his reply brief, Mr. Molen represented that he believed, however incorrectly, that he had properly re-noticed the hearing on his motions for July 19, 2012, and that if the court left the hearing on for July 12, 2012, Mr. Molen would suffer "a punitive ruling that interferes with adequate time to respond to" plaintiff's opposition to his motions. (Reply Br. at 1-2, Dkt. No. 117.) At the hearing, Mr. Molen clarified that he actually suffered no prejudice as a result of the court hearing his motions on July 12, 2012, and that he believed that his motions were presently ready to be heard and resolved by the court.

II. DISCUSSION

The court denies Mr. Molen's motions on both procedural and substantive grounds. First, Mr. Molen did not file his motions pursuant to any Federal Rule of Civil Procedure or Local Rule; he cites no procedural basis for his motion at all. Instead, as has been the case throughout this litigation, Mr. Molen simply conjured up a motion that suited his immediate desires and filed it with no regard for the applicable rules of procedure. Although Mr. Molen is proceeding without counsel, his disregard of the Federal Rule of Civil Procedure and this court's Local Rules constitutes a sanctionable violation of this court's Local Rules.*fn4

Accordingly, Mr. Molen's motions are denied for want of any procedural basis, but the court declines to impose monetary or other sanctions on Mr. Molen at this time.

Second, Mr. Molen's purported procedural dictates contained in his motions are summarily denied consistent with the court's prior orders prohibiting plaintiff from issuing such directives. (See, e.g., Order, Oct. 26, 2011 ("As the court has previously ordered (see Dkt. No. 103), defendants shall not file any additional documents through which they purport to impose their own deadlines upon the court. Any such filings by defendants in the future will be summarily disregarded, and will further result in a recommendation that defendants be sanctioned for failure to follow the court's orders, the court's Local Rules, and/or the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure."), Dkt. No. 105.) For example, each of Mr. Molen's pending motions states the following: "This [Motion] requires the Plaintiff to accept this motion by written response or through its acquiescence, or by written opposition with factual and verifiable proofs of claim regarding all such points of opposition. If not opposed and rebutted with factual and verifiable proof of claims, the claims made above by the Defendants will stand as facts before this court." (Motion at 3; see also Reply Br. at 2.) This requirement imposed by Mr. Molen, and any other such requirements, are summarily disregarded. The court warns Mr. Molen for the final time that he is not entitled to prescribe or impose procedural requirements or prohibitions on the court or other parties. In addition to having any such mandate summarily stricken or disregarded, the court will impose monetary sanctions or default sanctions if Mr. Molen engages in similar conduct in the future. See Local Rules 110 and 183(a).

The court emphasizes that Mr. Molen has been repeatedly and thoroughly warned of the potential consequences of his continuing misconduct in this case, e.g., monetary sanctions, a judgment against him by default, etc. (See Order, Feb. 1, 2012, at 1 n.1, Dkt. No. 107; Order, Oct. 26, 2011, at 2, Dkt. No. 105; Order, Oct. 6, 2011, at 2, Dkt. No. 103; Order, Aug. 30, 2011, at 4, Dkt. No. 101; Order, Aug. 22, 2011, at 1 n.1, Dkt. No. 96; Order, Aug. 22, 2011, at 1 n.1, Dkt. No. 95; Order, May 9, 2011, at 2-3 & 12, Dkt. No. 65; Order, Apr. 21, 2011, at 12 n.6, Dkt. No. 60.) Mr. Molen's next material violation of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, the Local Rules, or this court's orders will result in the imposition of significant monetary sanctions against Mr. Molen, and absent extraordinary circumstances will result in a recommendation that plaintiff be granted a default judgment against Mr. Molen and other defendants represented or controlled by him (e.g., the estate of Sandra Molen). The court will not provide Mr. Molen with any further warnings, but will provide Mr. Molen with an opportunity to be heard in writing prior to the imposition of monetary or default sanctions. In terms of the potential consequences of a default, the court reminds Mr. Molen that plaintiff seeks, among other relief, a forced sale of Mr. Molen's home and approximately $210,000 through this lawsuit. (See Compl. at 12-13.)

Third, the undersigned denies Mr. Molen's motions on substantive grounds. Mr. Molen's primary argument-which also appears to be his primary defense in this case-is that federal reserve notes, i.e., U.S. dollars, are "worthless securities" such that the receipt or exchange of federal reserve notes cannot create taxable income or a taxable event. As a result, Mr. Molen contends that the defendants against whom the IRS imposed or assessed taxes and penalties never had ...


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