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United States v. Brooks

United States District Court, D. South Carolina, Greenville Division

October 11, 2018

United States, Plaintiff,
Dennis D. Brooks, Barbara D. Brooks, Greenville County Tax Collector, Coach Hills Homeowner's Association Inc., South Carolina Department of Revenue, Defendants.


          Jacquelyn D. Austin, United States Magistrate Judge.

         This matter is before the Court on motion for summary judgment and for default judgment filed by Plaintiff in this civil action. [Doc. 111.] Pursuant to the provisions of 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(B) and Local Civil Rule 73.02(B)(2)(e), D.S.C., this magistrate judge is authorized to review all pretrial matters in cases involving litigation by individuals proceeding pro se-which Dennis D. Brooks (“Brooks”) and Barbara D. Brooks (collectively, “the Brookses”) are-and to submit findings and recommendations to the District Court.

         Plaintiff filed this action on July 28, 2017, seeking to reduce to judgment Brooks' outstanding tax liabilities and enforce and foreclose the corresponding federal tax liens on real property located at 10 Twin Oaks Court, Greenville, South Carolina (“the Subject Property”).[1] [Doc. 1.] The Complaint named Coach Hills Homeowner's Association, Inc. [sic] (“Coach Hills”), Greenville County Tax Collector, and South Carolina Department of Revenue (“SCDOR”) as Defendants “pursuant to 26 U.S.C. § 7403(b) by virtue of liens [they might] claim against” the Subject Property.[2] [Doc. 1 ¶ 7-9.] On October 13, 2017, with Coach Hills not having filed a pleading or otherwise participated in the case, Plaintiff filed a request for entry of default against Coach Hills [Doc. 23], and the Clerk entered default against Coach Hills the same day [Doc. 24].

         On August 16, 2018, Plaintiff filed a motion for summary judgment against Brooks and for default judgment as to Coach Hills. [Doc. 111.] The following day, the Court issued an Order in accordance with Roseboro v. Garrison, 528 F.2d 309 (4th Cir. 1975), advising Brooks of the summary judgment/dismissal procedure and of the possible consequences if he failed to adequately respond to the motion. [Doc. 112.] Brooks did not respond to the motion, nor did Coach Hills, and the motion is now ripe for review.


         Summary Judgment against Brooks

         Because Brooks did not respond to Plaintiff's summary judgment motion, the following facts are uncontroverted.

         Brooks failed to file tax returns for the years 2000, 2005, 2006, 2007, and 2011. [Doc. 111-2 at 3 ¶ 3.] As a result, the Internal Revenue Service determined the income tax Brooks owed for those years and sent deficiency notices to his last known address. [Id.] See 26 U.S.C. § 6212. Brooks did not petition the United States Tax Court to challenge those deficiency determinations within the time period allowed for such challenges. [Doc. 1 at ¶ 11.] See 26 U.S.C. § 6213.

         As of August 6, 2018, Brooks owed the United States $622, 849.14 on the assessments, penalties, and interest. [Doc. 111-2 at 52.] In light of Brooks' failure to satisfy the assessments after notice and demand for payment, federal tax liens arose on the dates of the assessment and attached to all of Brooks' property and rights to property, including the Subject Property. See 26 U.S.C. §§ 6321, 6322; United States v. Carter, No. 3:16-cv-674, 2018 WL 4356773, at *11 (E.D. Va. Sept. 12, 2018). The Brookses acquired title to the Subject Property by a deed dated December 17, 1979, and the deed was recorded on January 24, 1980, in the public records of Greenville County, South Carolina. [Doc. 111-2 at 58.] On the following dates, a delegate of the United States Secretary of the Treasury caused notices of federal tax lien to be recorded in the public records of Greenville County, South Carolina: July 20, 2010 for assessments relating to tax years 2000, 2005, and 2006; September 29, 2015 for assessments relating to tax years 2007 and 2011; and December 7, 2016 for another assessment relating to tax year 2006.[3] [Doc. 111-2 at 54-56.]

         Default Judgment against Coach Hills

         Coach Hills was served with the summons and complaint in this action by delivery to its registered agent for service of process on August 16, 2017. [Doc. 8-1 at 2.] Coach Hills was required to answer or otherwise respond on or before September 6, 2017. [Doc. Id. at 1.] However, it has not filed a responsive pleading or otherwise appeared in this case, and the Clerk has entered its default. [Doc. 24.]


         Summary Judgment Standard

         Rule 56 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure states, as to a party who ...

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