United States District Court, E.D. California
DAY OBJECTION DEADLINE
FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS THAT THE COURT GRANT, IN
FULL, PLAINTIFF'S EX PARTE MOTION FOR DEFAULT
JUDGMENT AND FINAL JUDGMENT OF FORFEITURE AS TO ALL POTENTIAL
CLAIMANTS (ECF Nos. 9 & 25)
Michael J. Seng UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
matter comes before the Honorable Judge Michael J. Seng on
Plaintiff United States' ex parte motion for
default judgment and final judgment of forfeiture. (ECF No.
9.) There was no appearance by or on behalf of any other
person or entity claiming an interest in the Defendant
Currency to oppose Plaintiff's motion. Plaintiff's
motion was referred to the Magistrate Judge pursuant to 28
U.S.C. § 636(b) and Local Rule 302(c)(19) and is
considered in accordance with Local Rule 540(d).
matter is taken under submission without oral argument
pursuant to Local Rule 230(g). For the reasons set forth
below, the Court will recommend that Plaintiff's motion
be GRANTED in full.
September 24, 2015, detectives from the Fresno County
Sheriff's Department seized approximately $460, 520.00
(hereafter “Defendant Currency”) from inside the
seat of a white Lincoln Navigator sport utility vehicle
during a traffic stop. (Compl. (ECF No. 1) at ¶¶
6-7, 19-21.) Juan Plazola was the driver of the Navigator and
Eduardo Maya-Perez was in the front passenger seat.
(Id. ¶ 8.) During the stop, Plazola told
detectives that the vehicle belonged to a woman named Marcia.
(Id. ¶ 9.) Plazola, Maya-Perez, and the
Navigator were released without incident. (Id.
December 15, 2015, Plaintiff filed the instant forfeiture
action. (Compl. (ECF No. 1.)) Direct notice was sent to
Plazola and Maya-Perez only. (Mot. for Default J. (ECF No. 9)
at 7-8.) On March 1, 2016, after Plazola and Maya-Perez
failed to file claims, Plaintiff obtained a clerk's
default against them. (Clerk's Entry of Default J. (ECF
Nos. 7 & 8.))
March 11, 2016, Plaintiff filed an ex parte
application for default judgment and final judgment of
forfeiture against all potential claimants (hereafter
“Motion for Default”) setting forth
Plaintiff's efforts to publish and provide notice of the
complaint to potential claimants Plazola and Maya-Perez.
(Mot. for Default J. at 17.)
April 26, 2016, this Court issued findings and
recommendations (“F&R”) recommending the
Motion for Default be granted in full. (F&R to Grant Mot.
for Default J. (ECF No. 12.) at 10.) On May 26, 2016, the
district court adopted in part the F&R, granting default
judgment against potential claimants Plazola and Maya-Perez
but ruling that it could not enter final judgment against all
potential claimants because Plaintiff had failed to give
direct notice to the registered owner and/or the purported
owner of the vehicle, “Marcia.” (Order Adopting
F&R in Part (ECF No. 13) at 2.) Plaintiff was thus
granted additional time to notice the registered owner and/or
“Marcia, ” or otherwise explain why it was not
necessary to serve direct notice on these individuals.
8, 2016, direct notice was sent to Marcia Salcido, the
registered owner of the vehicle. (Suppl. Br. in Supp. of Mot.
for Default J. (ECF No. 25) at 3.) On January 20, 2017, after
Ms. Salcido failed to file a claim, Plaintiff obtained a
clerk's entry of default as to Ms. Salcido. (Req. for
Entry of Default (ECF No. 23); Clerk's Entry of Default
(ECF No. 24.)) On February 9, 2017, Plaintiff filed the
instant Supplemental Brief in support of its Motion for
Default. (ECF No. 25.)
facts pertaining to the traffic stop that led to the seizure
of the Defendant Currency are stated in detail in both the
complaint and Plaintiff's initial Motion for Default.
Those facts remain unchanged and will not be repeated herein.
The following facts pertaining to potential claimant Marcia
Salcido are taken from Plaintiff's supplemental brief.
detectives located the Defendant Currency, Plazola told
detectives that the Defendant Currency was not his, but was
likely the property of the registered owner,
“Marcia.” Plazola provided the detectives with
Marcia's telephone number. The detectives called the
number and spoke to a woman who identified herself as
“Marcia” and the owner of the Navigator. Marcia
told detectives she had loaned the Navigator to Plazola.
Marcia also stated that she did not have any weapons,
narcotics, or large sums of money in the vehicle.
to the Fresno County Sheriff's Office Incident Report
from September 24, 2015, the Navigator belonged to Marcia
Salcido, residing at 16305 Ladysmith Street, Hacienda
Heights, California, 91745. Ms. Salcido's ...