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United States v. Approximately $16

United States District Court, Ninth Circuit

October 18, 2013

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff,
v.
APPROXIMATELY $16, 755.00 IN U.S. CURRENCY, Defendant.

FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS RE PLAINTIFF'S MOTION TO STRIKE AND MOTION FOR DEFAULT JUDGMENT ECF NO. 17 OBJECTIONS DUE WITHIN FOURTEEN (14) DAYS

STANLEY A. BOONE, Magistrate Judge.

On September 17, 2013, Plaintiff United States of America ("Plaintiff") filed a motion to strike the claim filed by James Bastin and to enter default judgment in favor of Plaintiff. (ECF No. 17.) This matter was referred to the undersigned magistrate judge for findings and recommendations pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(b) and Local Rule 302.

Pursuant to Local Rule 540(d) and 230(g), the Court finds that this matter is appropriate for adjudication upon the record and brief on file and therefore vacates the hearing scheduled for October 30, 2013. For the reasons set forth below, the Court recommends that Plaintiff's motion to strike James Bastin's claim be granted and that Plaintiff's motion for default judgment be denied.

I.

BACKGROUND

This action is an in rem forfeiture action under 21 U.S.C. § 881(a)(6) relating to currency traceable to a violation of 21 U.S.C. § 841, et seq. The property named as a defendant in this action is Approximately $16, 755.00 in U.S. Currency ("the Defendant Currency"). The Defendant Currency was seized on or about December 21, 2011 at 1734 Randazzo Avenue in Modesto, California ("the Randazzo Residence"). The Defendant Currency was seized during a search of the Randazzo Residence related to the arrests of James Bastin, Sarah Bastin and David Lee Wilson for the possession of a controlled substance with intent to sell.

On June 21, 2012, Plaintiff filed the complaint in this action. (ECF No. 1.) On June 22, 2012, a warrant for the arrest of the Defendant Currency was issued. (ECF No. 4.) The warrant was executed on July 2, 2012. (ECF No. 5.)

Public notice of this action and the arrest of the Defendant Currency was published on the official internet government forfeiture site www.forfeiture.gov for at least 30 consecutive days. Direct notice was mailed to James Bastin and Sara Bastin. On July 12, 2012, James Bastin filed a claim for the Defendant Currency. (ECF No. 6.) No other person has filed a claim for the Defendant Currency. On September 17, 2013, default was entered as to Sara Bastin. (ECF No. 16.)

On May 22, 2012, Plaintiff propounded on James Bastin discovery requests including requests for admissions, requests for production of documents, interrogatories and special interrogatories. On May 24, 2013, Plaintiff received a request from James Bastin's attorney seeking a thirty day extension of time to respond to the discovery requests. Plaintiff granted the extension, which extended the deadline for responding to discovery through July 26, 2013. Plaintiff never received any responses to the discovery requests. Pursuant to the Court's scheduling order, discovery in this action closed on August 30, 2013. (See ECF No. 10.)

No opposition has been filed to Plaintiff's motion.

II.

MOTION TO STRIKE

Plaintiff seeks to strike James Bastin's claim for the Defendant Currency in this forfeiture action on the ground that James Bastin failed to respond to Plaintiff's discovery requests. Under Federal Rule ...


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