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United States v. Agra

United States District Court, E.D. California

April 28, 2014

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff,
v.
GIDEON VALENTE AGRA, Defendant.

FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS

DALE A. DROZD, Magistrate Judge.

Defendant Gideon Valente Agra is proceeding pro se in the above entitled action. Accordingly, the matter has been referred to the undersigned pursuant to Local Rule 302(c)(21) and 28 U.S.C. ยง 636(b)(1). On January 17, 2014, the parties appeared for hearing of plaintiff's motion for summary judgment. Attorney Boris Kukso appeared telephonically on behalf of the plaintiff. No appearance was made by, or on behalf of, the defendant.

Upon consideration of the arguments on file and at the hearing, and for the reasons set forth below, the undersigned will recommend that plaintiff's motion for summary judgment be granted.

BACKGROUND

The government's complaint, filed August 12, 2013, seeks to nullify and enjoin false liens filed with the California Secretary of the State by the defendant against certain employees of the United States. (Dkt. No. 1.) Defendant, proceeding pro se, filed with this court what was deemed to be an answer on August 28, 2013.[1] (Dkt. No. 4.) The government filed the pending motion for summary judgment on November 25, 2013. (Dkt. No. 9.) On December 3, 2013, the assigned District Judge referred the matter to the undersigned pursuant to Local Rule 302(c)(21). (Dkt. No. 10.) Accordingly, the government re-noticed its motion for summary judgment for hearing before the undersigned. (Dkt. No. 11.)

Although the defendant failed to file an opposition or a statement of non-opposition to the motion for summary judgment, he did file several documents with the court expressing his general objection to this action. (Dkt. Nos. 12 & 13.) On January 10, 2014, the government filed a reply. (Dkt. No. 14.)

On January 17, 2014, the matter came before the undersigned for hearing of the motion. (Dkt. No. 15.) As noted above, defendant neither appeared at the hearing nor filed any written opposition to plaintiff's motion for summary judgment.

MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT

I. Legal Standards

Summary judgment is appropriate when the moving party "shows that there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law." FED. R. CIV. P. 56(a).

Under summary judgment practice, the moving party "initially bears the burden of proving the absence of a genuine issue of material fact." In re Oracle Corp. Securities Litigation , 627 F.3d 376, 387 (9th Cir. 2010) (citing Celotex Corp. v. Catrett , 477 U.S. 317, 323 (1986)). The moving party may accomplish this by "citing to particular parts of materials in the record, including depositions, documents, electronically store information, affidavits or declarations, stipulations (including those made for purposes of the motion only), admission, interrogatory answers, or other materials" or by showing that such materials "do not establish the absence or presence of a genuine dispute, or that the adverse party cannot produce admissible evidence to support the fact." FED. R. CIV. P. 56(c)(1)(A), (B). When the non-moving party bears the burden of proof at trial, "the moving party need only prove that there is an absence of evidence to support the nonmoving party's case." Oracle Corp. , 627 F.3d at 387 (citing Celotex , 477 U.S. at 325.). See also FED. R. CIV. P. 56(c)(1)(B). Indeed, summary judgment should be entered, after adequate time for discovery and upon motion, against a party who fails to make a showing sufficient to establish the existence of an element essential to that party's case, and on which that party will bear the burden of proof at trial.[2] See Celotex , 477 U.S. at 322. "[A] complete failure of proof concerning an essential element of the nonmoving party's case necessarily renders all other facts immaterial." Id . In such a circumstance, summary judgment should be granted, "so long as whatever is before the district court demonstrates that the standard for entry of summary judgment, ..., is satisfied." Id. at 323.

If the moving party meets its initial responsibility, the burden then shifts to the opposing party to establish that a genuine issue as to any material fact actually does exist. See Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp. , 475 U.S. 574, 586 (1986). In attempting to establish the existence of this factual dispute, the opposing party may not rely upon the allegations or denials of its pleadings but is required to tender evidence of specific facts in the form of affidavits, and/or admissible discovery material, in support of its contention that the dispute exists. See FED. R. CIV. P. 56(c)(1); Matsushita , 475 U.S. at 586 n.11. The opposing party must demonstrate that the fact in contention is material, i.e., a fact that might affect the outcome of the suit under the governing law, see Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc. , 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986); T.W. Elec. Serv., Inc. v. Pacific Elec. Contractors Ass'n , 809 F.2d 626, 630 (9th Cir. 1987), and that the dispute is genuine, i.e., the evidence is such that a reasonable jury could return a verdict for the nonmoving party, see Wool v. Tandem Computers, Inc. , 818 F.2d 1433, 1436 (9th Cir. 1987).

In the endeavor to establish the existence of a factual dispute, the opposing party need not establish a material issue of fact conclusively in its favor. It is sufficient that "the claimed factual dispute be shown to require a jury or judge to resolve the parties' differing versions of the truth at trial." T.W. Elec. Serv. , 809 F.2d at 631. Thus, the "purpose of summary judgment is to pierce the pleadings and to assess the proof in order to see whether there is a genuine need for trial.'" Matsushita , 475 U.S. at 587 (citations omitted).

"In evaluating the evidence to determine whether there is a genuine issue of fact, " the court draws "all reasonable inferences supported by the evidence in favor of the non-moving party." Walls v. Central Costa County Transit Authority , 653 F.3d 963, 966 (9th Cir. 2011). It is the opposing party's obligation to produce a factual predicate from which the inference may be drawn. See Richards v. Nielsen Freight Lines , 602 F.Supp. 1224, 1244-45 (E.D. Cal. 1985), aff'd, 810 F.2d 898 , 902 (9th Cir. 1987). Finally, to demonstrate a genuine issue, the opposing party "must do more than simply show that there is some metaphysical doubt as to the material facts.... Where the record ...


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