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Michael Phelan v. Mecon Equipment

February 6, 2013

MICHAEL PHELAN, PLAINTIFF,
v.
MECON EQUIPMENT, LLC., ET AL., DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Allison Claire United States Magistrate Judge

ORDER

Plaintiff's motion for default judgment came on for hearing on January 23, 2013. At the hearing, the court raised sua sponte the basis for this court's jurisdiction and directed plaintiff to file briefing establishing this court's subject matter jurisdiction. Plaintiff has now filed a response. On review, THE COURT FINDS AS FOLLOWS:

RELEVANT FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

A. Plaintiff's Purchase of the Subject Property On June 30, 2002, real property located at 1143 Fremont Street, Colusa, Colusa County, California ("the Subject Property") was declared to be tax-defaulted. Compl. ¶ 12. On March 20, 2008, a Notice of Power to Sell Tax-Defaulted Property was recorded with the Colusa County Recorder's Office, Instrument Number 2008-0001416, making the Subject Property subject to a power of sale for nonpayment of taxes. Compl. ¶ 12.

Plaintiff purchased the Subject Property from the Colusa County tax collector and recorded a deed of trust on July 2, 2009 in the Colusa County Recorder's Office, Instrument Number 2009-2837. Compl. ¶ 12.

All taxes and assessments levied and payable have been paid. Compl. ¶ 12.

B. The Removed Federal Action

A complaint for order quieting title was originally filed with the Colusa County Superior Court on March 18, 2010 by CC Pacific LP, a limited partnership formed by the plaintiff here (Phelan), which was believed to be the record owner of the Subject Property. Pl.'s Mem. of P. & A. at 2, Ex. A. That complaint named Mecom Equipment, LLC ("Mecom"); Pawnee Leasing Corporation ("Pawnee"); State of California, California Department of Toxic Substances Control ("DTSC"); State of California, Employment Development Department ("EDD"); and the United States. Each of these defendants had filed liens on the Subject Property. Pursuant to statute, plaintiff also named "all other persons unknown, claiming any right, title, estate, lien, or interest in the [Subject Property] adverse to Plaintiff's ownership, or any cloud on Plaintiff's title thereto" ("Unknown Defendants"). The facts alleged in that complaint are substantially identical to the complaint on file in this action with the exception that the identity of the plaintiff.

On May 6, 2010, the United States removed the state action to federal court pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1444 and 28 U.S.C. § 2410*fn1 . See CC Pacific LP v. State of California et al., 2:10-cv-1127 LKK GGH. Soon thereafter, on June 28, 2010, the parties stipulated to dismissal without prejudice because it was determined that Phelan and not CC Pacific LP was the record owner of the Subject Property.

C. The Instant Federal Action

On June 28, 2010, plaintiff Phelan re-filed the quiet title action in this court pursuant to Cal. Rev. & Tax. Code § 3950 against Mecom, Pawnee, DTSC, EDD, and the United States. Plaintiff also names the statutorily-mandated Unknown Defendants. Plaintiff asserts jurisdiction is proper pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2410 and Cal. Rev. & Tax Code § 3950.

As of today's date, each of the liens filed by the known defendants has been extinguished or released, and plaintiff has dismissed these defendants from suit. See Doc. Nos. 35, 36 (Mecom); 28, 30 (Pawnee); 37, 39 (DTSC); 29, 31 (EDD); 36, 64 (United States).

This action is now proceeding solely against the statutorily-mandated Unknown Defendants. An evidentiary hearing is ...


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