United States District Court, N.D. Indiana
OPINION AND ORDER
THERESA L. SPRINGMANN JUDGE.
matter comes before the Court on Defendant NASA Leasing's
Motion for Summary Judgment [ECF No. 100], which was filed on
April 22, 2016. On June 27, 2016, the Plaintiff filed his
Response to Defendant NASA Leasing's Motion for Summary
Judgment [ECF No. 109]. Defendant NASA Leasing entered its
Reply [ECF No. 110] on July 7, 2016. The Court received the
Final Report of Mediation [ECF No. 117] on September 1, 2016,
which stated that the parties failed to reach an agreement.
This matter is now ripe for the Court's review.
OF THE CASE
case involves two adjacent parcels of land in Crown Point,
Indiana. The following facts are not in dispute. On November
24, 2009, Defendant NASA Leasing purchased a Tax Lien for the
following land parcel:
Key Number: 45-16-05-406-004.000-042
Brief Legal Description: Railroad Add. S.22 Ft. of L.2 Bl. 38
Commonly known as: 806 N. Grant, Crown Point, Indiana
(Pl.'s Resp. Ex. C, ECF No. 109-5.) Defendant NASA
Leasing purchased 806 N. Grant at a Lake County
Commissioner's tax sale, which was assessed solely as
land without any improvements. (Def.'s Reply 6, ECF No.
110; Pl.'s Resp. Ex. D, ECF No. 109-6.) On February 2,
2010, the Plaintiff closed his purchase for the following
Key Number: 45-16-05-406-005.000-042 Brief Legal Description:
Railroad Add. N.22 Ft. of L.2 Bl. 38 Commonly known as: 804
N. Grant, Crown Point, Indiana
(Pl.'s Resp. Ex. B, ECF No. 109-4; Id. Ex. E.,
ECF No. 109-7.) The Plaintiff received a Special Warranty
Deed from the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development
(“HUD”) for 804 N. Grant. (Pl.'s Resp. Ex. B;
Id. Ex. E.) In addition to land, the Deed included
the home located on 804 N. Grant, which Lake County assessed
as an improvement on 804 N. Grant. (Pl.'s Resp. Ex. G,
ECF No. 109-9.)
NASA Leasing published a notice on May 4, 2010, which stated
that it was filing an application for deed and a date of
hearing. (Def.'s Reply Ex. C.) The notice enumerated the
identifying information above-Key Number, Brief Legal
Description, and Common Address. (Id.) Notice was
provided both by publication and certified mail, addressed to
the Secretary of HUD in Chicago. (Id.; Pl.'s
Resp. Ex J, ECF No. 109-12.) On July 15, 2010, Defendant NASA
Leasing submitted an Entry of Order to Issue Tax Deed for 806
N. Grant. (Def.'s Reply Ex. D.) Defendant NASA Leasing
received its Tax Deed on September 2, 2010, which was duly
recorded in the Lake County, Indiana, Office of the Recorder
on October 25, 2010. (Def.'s Mot. Summ. J. Ex. A, ECF No.
mid-February 2011, Defendant NASA Leasing and the Plaintiff
were disputing their respective ownership rights in the
adjacent parcels. (Def.'s Reply Ex. F.) Defendant NASA
Leasing claimed a one-half interest in the Plaintiff's
home, arguing that the home was partly located on 806 N.
Grant. The Plaintiff argued that Defendant NASA Leasing had
no interest in the Plaintiff's home. On April 17, 2014,
the Plaintiff filed his initial Complaint [ECF No. 2], which
was subsequently removed to federal court, pursuant to 28
U.S.C. §§ 1332, 1441, and 1446 [ECF No. 1]. In the
Second Amended Complaint [ECF No. 82], the Plaintiff asserts
claims against Defendant NASA Leasing, as well as Defendants
National Attorneys' Title Assurance Fund, Inc.
(“NATAF”), McColly Real Estate, Inc., the
Secretary of HUD, County of Lake, Indiana, Becky Steininger,
and Stephen W. Robertson. Defendant NASA Leasing filed its
Answer and Counterclaim [ECF No. 90] on October 8, 2015. The
Plaintiff seeks to set aside the “Tax Deed issued to
Defendant NASA Leasing, Quiet Title judgment against them,
declare the tax sale title to one-half of the home be
declared null and void, and fee-simple title and interest to
804 N. Grant St. home be quieted as against any and all
claims of the Defendant and past tax sales.” (Second
Amend. Compl. ¶ 15, ECF No. 82.) Only those claims
asserted against Defendant NASA Leasing are pertinent to this
Motion for Summary Judgment.
judgment is warranted when “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). Summary judgment is the moment in
litigation where the nonmoving party is required to marshal
and present the court with evidence on which a reasonable
jury could rely to find in that party's favor.
Goodman v. Nat'l Sec. Agency, Inc., 621 F.3d
651, 654 (7th Cir. 2010). A court should only deny a motion
for summary judgment when the nonmoving party presents
admissible evidence that creates a genuine issue of material
fact. Luster v. Ill. Dep't of Corrs., 652 F.3d
726, 731 (7th Cir. 2011) (first citing United States v.
5443 Suffield Terrace, 607 F.3d 504, 510 (7th Cir.
2010); then citing Swearnigen-El v. Cook Cnty.
Sheriff's Dep't, 602 F.3d 852, 859 (7th Cir.
2010)). A court's role in deciding a motion for summary
judgment “is not to sift through the evidence,
pondering the nuances and inconsistencies, and decide whom to
believe. [A] court has one task and one task only: to decide,
based on the evidence of record, whether there is any
material dispute of fact that requires a trial.”
Waldridge v. Am. Heochst Corp., 24 F.3d 918, 920
(7th Cir. 1994). Material facts are those that are outcome
determinative under the applicable law. Smith v.
Severn, 129 F.3d 419, 427 (7th Cir. 1997). Although a
bare contention that an issue of material fact exists is
insufficient to ...