United States District Court, S.D. California
ORDER: (1) GRANTING THE UNITED STATES OF
AMERICA'S MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT; [DOC. NO. 25] (2)
DENYING NGON T. LE'S CROSS MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT;
AND [DOC. NO. 31] (3) REMANDING REMAINING STATE LAW CLAIMS TO
MICHAEL M. ANELLO UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
November 29, 2017, Plaintiff Innovative Real Estate Planning
Group, Inc. (“Innovative”) filed this quiet title
action against Ngon T. Le (“Le”) and “all
other persons unknown, claiming any right, title, estate,
lien or interest in the real property described in the
complaint, adverse to [Innovative's] ownership or any
cloud on plaintiff's title thereto.” Doc. No. 1-2
(“Compl.”). On February 26, 2018, Le filed a
cross complaint against Innovative, Vladymir Frazilus, Chien
Thi Nguyen, Dung A Nguyen, Canh M. Phan, Canh Tran, and Thi
Truong Nguyen, Trustees of the Truong Family Trust, Elizabeth
Persons, the United States of America (“USA”),
the State of California, the City of San Diego, Fire
Prevention Services, Inc., and “all persons unknown,
claiming any right, title, estate, lien or interest in the
real property described in the complaint, adverse to
plaintiff's ownership or any cloud on plaintiff's
title thereto.”Doc. No. 3 (“Cross Compl.”). On
May 1, 2018, USA removed the action to this Court. Doc. No.
filed a motion for summary judgment against Le. Doc. No. 25.
Le filed a response in opposition (Doc. No. 32) and a cross
motion for summary judgment against the USA (Doc. No. 31).
USA replied to Le's opposition (Doc. No. 33) and filed a
response in opposition to Le's cross motion (Doc. No.
39). Le replied to the USA's opposition. Doc. No. 40. The
Court found these matters suitable for determination on the
papers submitted and without oral argument pursuant to Civil
Local Rule 7.1.d.1. Doc. Nos. 34, 41. For the following
reasons, the Court GRANTS the USA's
motion for summary judgment and DENIES
Le's cross motion for summary judgment. Also, the Court
REMANDS the remaining state-law claims
raised in the Complaint and Cross Complaint to the state
court in which they were originally filed.
May 5, 2017 to May 10, 2017, San Diego County held an online
auction for several pieces of tax-defaulted real property
(“auction”), including two pieces of undeveloped
land identified as Parcel Nos. 541-130-11-00 and 541-2
0-12-00 (collectively, “Le Properties”). Doc. No.
25-5 (“Heaton Depo.”) at 5:23-6:5, 19:22-20:5,
36:14-36:17; see also Cross Compl. ¶ 13; Doc.
No. 31-4, Exhibit 3 at 3. To advertise the auction, San Diego
County published a notice of the auction in the San Diego
Examiner and published information on its
website. Doc. No. 25-3, Exhibit A (“Notice of
Tax Auction”); Heaton Depo. at 13:1-13:17; Doc. No.
25-4 (“Le Depo.”) at 18:24-19:2; S.D. Examiner
to the auction, the Le Properties were owned by Phuc N. Doan
and Longngoc N. Doan (the “Doans”). Notice of Tax
Auction; Heaton Depo. at 19:8-19:12; S.D. Examiner
Publication at 5; Doc. No. 29-2, Exhibits A-C. On April 6,
2017, the Internal Revenue Service (“IRS”)
recorded a Notice of Federal Tax Lien against the Doans for
failing to pay approximately $1.6 million in federal income
taxes for the 2010 and 2012 tax years. Doc. No. 25-3,
Exhibit B (“Form 2866”), Exhibit C (“Notice
of Federal Tax Lien”); Doc. No. 31-4, Exhibit 3 at 3.
and ultimately won the Le Properties. Le Depo. at 24:8-24:11; Doc.
No. 30-4 (“Le Decl.”) ¶ 1. Following the
auction, San Diego County prepared a Tax Sale Deed, listing
the date the auction sale was conducted as May 9, 2017. Doc.
No. 25-3, Exhibit E (“Tax Deed”); Doc. No. 29-2,
Exhibits A-C. The IRS did not receive notice of the auction
at least 25 days prior to the auction. Heaton Depo. at
raises a variety of evidentiary objections to the USA's
evidence. Doc. No. 32-2. These objections are raised on the
grounds that the evidence is irrelevant, vague, assumes facts
not in evidence, or misstates the evidence or law.
Id. “A trial court can only consider
admissible evidence in ruling on a motion for summary
judgment.” Orr v. Bank of Am., NT &
SA, 285 F.3d 764, 773 (9th Cir. 2002). At the summary
judgment stage, district courts consider evidence with
content that would be admissible at trial, even if the form
of the evidence would not be admissible at trial. See
Fraser v. Goodale, 342 F.3d 1032, 1036 (9th Cir. 2003);
Block v. City of Los Angeles, 253 F.3d 410, 418-19
(9th Cir. 2001). “[O]bjections to evidence on the
ground that it is irrelevant . . . [is] duplicative of the
summary judgment standard itself” and unnecessary to
consider here. Burch v. Regents of Univ. of Cal.,
433 F.Supp.2d 1110, 1119 (E.D. Cal. 2006); see Anderson
v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986)
(“Factual disputes that are irrelevant or unnecessary
will not be counted.”). Accordingly, the Court does not
consider any relevance objections. Le's remaining
objections that the statements misstate the evidence or law,
assume facts not in evidence, or are vague, are objections to
USA's characterization of the evidence rather than to the
evidence itself. Thus, the Court will not consider these
objections. See Hanger Prosthetics & Orthotics, Inc.
v. Capstone Orthopedic, Inc., 556 F.Supp.2d 1122, 1126
n.1 (E.D. Cal. 2008) (noting that the parties'
“‘evidentiary objections to [their
adversary's] separate statements of undisputed facts are
not considered because such objections should be directed at
the evidence supporting those statements”).
party may move for summary judgment, identifying each claim
or defense-or the part of each claim or defense-on which
summary judgment is sought. The Court shall grant summary
judgment if the movant 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). The
party seeking summary judgment bears the initial burden of
establishing the basis of its motion and of identifying the
portions of the declarations, pleadings, and discovery that
demonstrate absence of a genuine issue of material fact.
Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323 (1986).
The moving party has “the burden of showing the absence
of a genuine issue as to any material fact, and for these
purposes the material it lodged must be viewed in the light
most favorable to the opposing party.” Adickes v.
S.H. Kress & Co., 398 U.S. 144, 157 (1970). A fact
is material if it could affect the outcome of the suit under
applicable law. See Anderson, 477 U.S. at 248. A
dispute about a material fact is genuine if there is
sufficient evidence for a reasonable jury to return a verdict
for the non-moving party. Id. The party opposing
summary judgment cannot “‘rest upon the mere
allegations or denials of [its] pleading' but must
instead produce evidence that ‘set[s] forth specific
facts showing that there is a genuine issue for
trial.'” Estate of Tucker v. Interscope
Records, Inc., 515 F.3d 1019, 1030 (9th Cir. 2008)
(quoting Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(e)).
asserts one cause of action against the USA, seeking a decree
that Le owns the property free and clear of the federal tax
lien. Cross Compl. ¶¶ 15-20. The sole dispute
between the parties is whether the date of sale is May 5,
2017 or May 9, 2017. The USA contends the date of sale is May
9, 2017-the date the auction concluded-and Le avers the date
of sale is May 5, 2017-the date the auction commenced.
26, section 7425(b) of the United States Code governs
nonjudicial sales of property to which the government claims
a federal tax lien. 26 U.S.C. § 7425(b). Pursuant to
§ 7425(b), “[a] nonjudicial sale of property is
made ‘subject to and without disturbing' federal
tax liens if (1) the federal tax liens were filed more than
30 days before the sale, and (2) notice of the sale is not
given to the IRS in accordance with § 7426(c)(1).”
Orme v. United States, 269 F.3d 991, 994 (9th Cir.
2001) (quoting 26 U.S.C. § 7425(b)); see Quality
Loan Serv. Corp. v. 24702 Pallas Way, 635 F.3d 1128,
1134 (9th Cir. 2011). ...