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First Financial Bank, N.A. v. United States Department of Treasury/Internal Revenue Service

United States District Court, S.D. Indiana, Terre Haute Division

February 12, 2015

FIRST FINANCIAL BANK, N.A., Plaintiff,
v.
UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF TREASURY/INTERNAL REVENUE SERVICE, STATE OF INDIANA/DEPT. OF REVENUE, Defendants.

ORDER

JANE MAGNUS-STINSON, District Judge.

Presently pending before the Court is Defendant United States Department of Treasury/Internal Revenue Service's ("United States") Motion for Summary Judgment. [Filing No. 35.] The claims remaining in this litigation are Plaintiff First Financial Bank, N.A.'s ("Plaintiff") claims against the United States and Defendant State of Indiana/Department of Revenue (the "State") regarding four tracts of land located in Sullivan County, Indiana.[1] [Filing No. 1-1.] Plaintiff seeks to quiet the title to the land and for a strict foreclosure. The United States now asks this Court to enter summary judgment in its favor. [Filing No. 35.] Plaintiff did not file a response and does not oppose the motion. [Filing No. 46.] For the reasons set forth below, the Court GRANTS the United States' motion for summary judgment, [Filing No. 35], relinquishes supplemental jurisdiction over Plaintiff's state law claim against the State, and enters final judgment accordingly.

I.

STANDARD OF REVIEW

A motion for summary judgment asks the Court to find that a trial is unnecessary because there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and, instead, the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. See Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a). As the current version of Rule 56 makes clear, whether a party asserts that a fact is undisputed or genuinely disputed, the party must support the asserted fact by citing to particular parts of the record, including depositions, documents, or affidavits. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c)(1)(A). A party can also support a fact by showing that the materials cited do not establish the absence or presence of a genuine dispute or that the adverse party cannot produce admissible evidence to support the fact. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c)(1)(B). Affidavits or declarations must be made on personal knowledge, set out facts that would be admissible in evidence, and show that the affiant is competent to testify on matters stated. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c)(4). Failure to properly support a fact in opposition to a movant's factual assertion can result in the movant's fact being considered undisputed, and potentially in the grant of summary judgment. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(e).

In deciding a motion for summary judgment, the Court need only consider disputed facts that are material to the decision. A disputed fact is material if it might affect the outcome of the suit under the governing law. Hampton v. Ford Motor Co., 561 F.3d 709, 713 (7th Cir. 2009). In other words, while there may be facts that are in dispute, summary judgment is appropriate if those facts are not outcome determinative. Harper v. Vigilant Ins. Co., 433 F.3d 521, 525 (7th Cir. 2005). Fact disputes that are irrelevant to the legal question will not be considered. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986).

On summary judgment, a party must show the Court what evidence it has that would convince a trier of fact to accept its version of the events. Johnson v. Cambridge Indus., 325 F.3d 892, 901 (7th Cir. 2003). The moving party is entitled to summary judgment if no reasonable fact-finder could return a verdict for the non-moving party. Nelson v. Miller, 570 F.3d 868, 875 (7th Cir. 2009). The Court views the record in the light most favorable to the non-moving party and draws all reasonable inferences in that party's favor. Darst v. Interstate Brands Corp., 512 F.3d 903, 907 (7th Cir. 2008). It cannot weigh evidence or make credibility determinations on summary judgment because those tasks are left to the fact-finder. O'Leary v. Accretive Health, Inc., 657 F.3d 625, 630 (7th Cir. 2011). Any doubt as to the existence of a genuine issue for trial is resolved against the moving party. Ponsetti v. GE Pension Plan, 614 F.3d 684, 691 (7th Cir. 2010).

II.

BACKGROUND

The following facts are undisputed. On September 6, 2007, Sound Decision Exhaust Center, Inc. ("Sound Decision") mortgaged to Plaintiff four tracts of land in Sullivan County, Indiana. [Filing No. 1-1 at 3.] The four plots are located on or about 545 South Section Street, 561 South Section Street, 643 South Section Street, and 523 South Section Street (collectively, the "Property"). [Filing No. 1-1 at 6.] Sound Decision, as mortgagor, defaulted on the mortgage. [Filing No. 1-1 at 4.] Plaintiff, as mortgagee, executed a Quit Claim Deed in Lieu of Foreclosure with the sole heir of the only shareholder of Sound Decision. [Filing No. 1-1 at 4.] Plaintiff's title research showed no outstanding liens on the Property at that time, [Filing No. 1-1 at 4], but the United States had recorded a lien against the Property in Sullivan County, Indiana on November 22, 2011, [Filing No. 36-1 at 1]. Plaintiff recorded the Quit Claim Deed in Lieu of Foreclosure in Sullivan County, Indiana on March 21, 2012. [Filing No. 1-1 at 4.]

Plaintiff admits that although the United States may have an interest in the Property, it was not discovered until a subsequent title search after execution of the Quit Claim Deed in Lieu of Foreclosure. [Filing No. 1-1 at 4.] Accordingly, the United States was not notified of the Quit Claim Deed in Lieu of Foreclosure. [Filing No. 1-1 at 4.]

In August 2013, Plaintiff filed a Complaint for Strict Foreclosure and Quiet Title in Sullivan Superior Court. [Filing No. 1-1.] In September 2013, the United States removed this action from state court to federal court. [Filing No. 1.] The only claims remaining in this litigation are Plaintiff's claims against the United States and the State. [Filing No. 1-1; Filing No. 32 (dismissing claims against Defendants Melinda Skinner and Andrew Carpenter).] The United States has moved for summary judgment on Plaintiff's claim against it, and that matter is now ripe for the Court's decision. [Filing No. 35.]

III.

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