Life Insurance Company of North America v. Baas et al
ORDER Accepting 53 Report and Recommendation, as set out in this order. The Defendant's 49 Motion for Sanctions will be granted. The Court now enters a default judgment against Defendant Erasmo Eufracio. Additionally, the Defendants' 54 Motion for the Conditional Disbursement of Funds will be granted, and the Clerk of Court shall disburse funds as set out there in. Signed by Senior Judge Donald E OBrien on 12/2/2014. Order/NEF mailed to defaulted defendant. (src)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE NORTHERN DISTRICT OF IOWA
LIFE INSURANCE COMPANY OF
ORDER ON REPORT AND
ERASMO EUFRACIO, CHARLENE
BAAS and RONALD BAAS,
Before the Court is a Report and Recommendation (“R&R”),
Docket No. 53, issued by United States Magistrate Judge
Leonard T. Strand concerning the Bass Defendants’ Motion for
Sanctions, Docket No. 49.
Also before the Court is Defendant
Baas’ Motion for Conditional Disbursement of Funds.
recommending that the Motion for Sanction be granted.
No. 53. Specifically, Judge Strand recommended that a default
judgment should be entered against Defendant Erasmo Eufracio
for failure to prosecute his case and failing to comply with
this Court’s prior Orders.
Neither party filed an objection
to the Report and Recommendation.
Magistrate Strand set out the relevant facts in this
As stated by Judge Strand:
[t]his is an interpleader case, commenced
on May 7, 2013, by plaintiff Life Insurance
Company of North America (LINA) after it
was confronted with competing claims to the
proceeds of a life insurance policy (the
Policy). Mr. and Mrs. Baas state that they
are the parents of the insured decedent,
Nicole Baas, and that Nicole was unmarried
and had no children at the time of her
death. Doc. No. 52-1 at 1-2. By contrast,
Mr. Eufracio has contended that he was
legally married to Nicole when she died.
Doc. No. 12 at 2-3. Under the terms of the
Policy, if Mr. Eufracio is Nicole’s
surviving spouse, the proceeds would be
payable to him. If not, then they would be
payable to Mr. and Mrs. Baas. Mr. and Mrs.
Baas filed an answer (Doc. No. 8) to LINA’s
complaint on June 6, 2013. Mr. Eufracio
filed a pro se answer (Doc. No. 12) to the
complaint on October 16, 2013.
Eufracio has done nothing since. As noted
in my prior order (Doc. No. 48), he did not
attend the October 14, 2014, final pretrial
Nor did he seek leave to
participate by telephone or take any of the
actions in advance of the conference that
were required by the Trial Management Order
(TMO) (Doc. No. 26). Because Mr. Eufracio
did not participate in the final pretrial
conference, trial was continued to November
7, 2014, to give Mr. and Mrs. Baas an
opportunity to file an appropriate motion
and Mr. Eufracio an opportunity to resist
it. See Doc. Nos. 48, 51. The motion was
promptly filed October 15, 2014. Mr. and
Mrs. Baas seek sanctions in the form of a
default judgment against Mr. Eufracio,
along with an order directing the Clerk to
proceeds to them.
Docket No. 53, p. 1-2.
Pursuant to statue, this Court’s standard of review for
a magistrate judge’s Report and Recommendation is as follows:
A judge of the court shall make a de novo
determination of those portions of the
report or specified proposed findings or
recommendations to which objection is made.
A judge of the court may accept, reject, or
modify, in whole or in part, the findings
or recommendations made by the magistrate
28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1).
Similarly, Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 72(b) provides
for review of a magistrate judge's Report and Recommendation
objections are made as follows:
The district judge to whom the case is
assigned shall make a de novo determination
upon the record, or after additional
evidence, of any portion of the magistrate
judge's disposition to which specific
accordance with this rule.
judge may accept, reject, or modify the
recommendation decision, receive further
evidence, or recommit the matter to the
magistrate judge with instructions.
FED. R. CIV. P. 72(b).
Recommendation waives the right to de novo review by the
district court of any portion of the Report and Recommendation
as well as the right to appeal from the findings of fact
United States v. Wise, 588 F.3d 531, 537
n.5 (8th Cir. 2009).
The Court has reviewed the Report and Recommendation,
along with the entire file. As discussed above, neither party
objected to Magistrate Strand’s Report and Recommendation.
The Court is persuaded that the Magistrate’s analysis is
correct, and his R&R should be adopted in its entirety.
abandoned this case.
All documents and pleadings have been
served on Mr. Eufracio at the address he provided to the
In spite of receiving the documents, Mr. Eufracio
failed to participate in this case in any way after filing his
[c]ounsel for Mr. and Mrs. Baas states that
he complied with the TMO by serving witness
preparing a proposed final pretrial order
and appearing at the final pretrial
conference. Doc. No. 49 at 3 (¶ 12). By
contrast, Mr. Eufracio not only failed to
appear at the final pretrial conference, he
did not serve the required witness and
exhibits lists or participate in the
preparation of the proposed final pretrial
order. Id. at 4 (¶ 13). This pattern of
noncompliance, when combined with Mr.
Eufracio’s lengthy failure to take any
other action in this case, leads me to
conclude that he has willfully abandoned
his claim to the Policy proceeds. This is
not a situation in which the delays in
postal service between Mexico and the
United States might explain a failure to
comply with deadlines.
I note, for
example, that Mr. Eufracio’s pro se answer,
which was filed October 16, 2013, states
that he signed it on October 11, 2013.
Doc. No. 12 at 4. Mr. Eufracio clearly had
the ability, if he so desired, to cause
documents to reach the Clerk within a short
period of time. His inaction in this case
cannot be attributed to mere mailing
Docket No. 53, p. 4-5.
Accordingly, this Court agrees with
Judge Strand that Mr. and Mrs. Baas “are entitled to entry of
a default judgment in their favor, and against Mr. Eufracio,
for the Policy proceeds that remain on deposit with the
Docket No. 53, p. 5.
As noted by Judge Strand, the insurance company Plaintiff
in this case is no longer participating in this case.
“deposited the full amount of the Policy proceeds, $31,000.00,
with the Clerk on March 14, 2014.
On June 17, 2014, I entered
an order (Doc. No. 43) directing payment to [the Plaintiff] of
attorney fees and costs totaling $4,722.00.
I now find, and
including any accrued interest, should be paid to Mr. and Mrs.
Docket No. 53, p. 5, Fn. 2.
This Court agrees.
Accordingly, the Defendants Charlene and Ronald Baas’ Motion
for the Conditional Disbursement of Funds, Docket No. 54, will
be granted and the Clerk of Court shall disburse the funds as
set out there in.
The Magistrate’s Report and Recommendation is accepted as
set out above, and the Defendant’s Motion for Sanctions,
Docket No. 49, will be GRANTED.
The Court now enters a
Disbursement of Funds, Docket No. 54, will be GRANTED, and the
Clerk of Court shall disburse the funds as set out there in.
IT IS SO ORDERED this 2nd day of December, 2014.
Donald E. O’Brien, Senior Judge
United States District Court
Northern District of Iowa
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