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Krstevski v. National Attorneys Title Assurance Fund Inc.

United States District Court, N.D. Indiana

November 18, 2016

METODIJA KRSTEVSKI, Plaintiff,
v.
NATIONAL ATTORNEYS' TITLE ASSURANCE FUND, INC, et al., Defendants.

          OPINION AND ORDER

          THERESA L. SPRINGMANN JUDGE.

         This 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.

         FACTS OF THE CASE

         This 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 land parcel:

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.)

         Defendant 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. 100.)

         By 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.

         STANDARD OF REVIEW

         Summary 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 ...


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