United States of America v. Approximately Twelve Thousand ($12,000) Dollars in United States Currency
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER that the Defendant/Claimant's 13 Motion for Summary Judgment and the United States of America's 31 Motion for Summary Judgment are DENIED. Signed by Hon. Chief Judge Mark E. Fuller on 9/17/2008. (cb, )
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT F O R THE MIDDLE DISTRICT OF ALABAMA N O R T H E R N DIVISION U N IT E D STATES OF AMERICA, P L A IN T IF F , v. A P P R O X IM A T E L Y TWELVE T H O U S A N D ($12,000) DOLLARS IN U N IT E D STATES CURRENCY, DEFEND AN T. ) ) ) ) ) ) ) ) ) ) )
C A S E NO. 2:07-cv-687-MEF (WO-Do Not Publish)
M E M O R A N D U M OPINION AND ORDER IN T R O D U C T IO N In this action for Forfeiture In Rem pursuant to Title II of the Controlled Substances A c t, 21 U.S.C. § 801 et seq., the United States seeks to forfeit and condemn approximately $ 1 2 ,0 0 0 in United States currency seized from Derrick Wesley Davis ("Davis") on January 1 8 , 2007. This cause is before the Court on the Defendant/Claimant's Motion for Summary Ju d g m en t (Doc. # 13) filed on January 25, 2008 by Davis and the United States of America's M o tio n for Summary Judgment (Doc. # 31) filed by Plaintiff on February 18, 2008. For the re a s o n s set forth below, the motions are due to be DENIED. JURISDICTION AND VENUE T h is Court has subject matter jurisdiction over the lawsuit pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §§
1 3 4 5 and 1355.1 Venue is proper in this district pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1395 and 21 U.S.C. § 881 because the act or omissions giving rise to the forfeiture occurred in this district and th e property is located within this district. D IS C U S S IO N U n d e r Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56(c), summary judgment is appropriate "if th e pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories, and admissions on file, together with th e affidavits, if any, show that there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and that the m o v in g party is entitled to a judgment as a matter of law." Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 3 1 7 , 322 (1986). The party asking for summary judgment "always bears the initial
r e sp o n s ib i lity of informing the district court of the basis for its motion, and identifying those p o rtio n s of `the pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories, and admissions on file, to g e th e r with the affidavits, if any,' which it believes demonstrate the absence of a genuine is s u e of material fact." Id. at 323. The movant can meet this burden by presenting evidence s h o w in g there is no dispute of material fact, or by showing the non-moving party has failed to present evidence in support of some element of its case on which it bears the ultimate
Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1345, "the [federal] district courts shall have original ju ris d ic tio n of all civil actions, suits or proceedings commenced by the United States . . . " In addition, 28 U.S.C. § 1355(a) provides that "the [federal] district courts shall have original jurisd iction , exclusive of the courts of the States, of any action or proceeding for the recovery o r enforcement of any fine, penalty, or forfeiture, pecuniary or otherwise, incurred under any A c t of Congress, except matters within the jurisdiction of the Court of International Trade u n d e r section 1582 of this title." 28 U.S.C. § 1355(b) provides in rem jurisdiction over this a c ti o n . 2
b u rd e n of proof. Id. at 322-23. O n c e the moving party has met its burden, Rule 56(e) "requires the nonmoving party to go beyond the pleadings and by [his] own affidavits, or by the `depositions, answers to in t e rr o g a to r ie s , and admissions on file,' designate `specific facts showing that there is a g e n u in e issue for trial.'" Id. at 324. To avoid summary judgment, the nonmoving party " m u s t do more than simply show that there is some metaphysical doubt as to the material fa c ts." Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 586 (1986) (e m p h a s is added). A plaintiff must present evidence demonstrating that he can establish the b a s ic elements of his claim. Celotex, 477 U.S. at 322. A court ruling on a motion for su m m a ry judgment must believe the evidence of the non-movant and must draw all ju s tif ia b le inferences from the evidence in the non-moving party's favor. Anderson v. Liberty L o b b y , Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 255 (1986). After the nonmoving party has responded to the m o tio n for summary judgment, the court must grant summary judgment if there is no genuine is s u e of material fact and the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. See F e d . R. Civ. P. 56(c). Because there are cross-motions for summary judgment in this case, th e Court has considered the facts and reasonable inferences to be drawn from the facts in th e light most favorable to the non-moving party as the Court considers each of the motions. T h e Court has carefully considered all deposition excerpts and documents submitted in support of and in opposition to the motion. Because of the present procedural posture, this C o u rt cannot and has not engaged in any credibility determinations in deciding this motion.
A lth o u g h in some respects, this case presents some very close questions, this Court cannot s a y at this stage of the proceedings that there are no genuine issues of material fact or that e ith e r the United States of America or Davis have shown that they are entitled to judgment a s a matter of law. Indeed, many of the material facts appear to be in dispute. Consequently, th e Defendant/Claimant's Motion for Summary Judgment (Doc. # 13) and the United States o f America's Motion for Summary Judgment (Doc. # 31) are DENIED. D o n e this the 17th day of September, 2008. /s/ Mark E. Fuller CHIEF UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
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