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United States v. $76

United States District Court, Ninth Circuit

October 23, 2013

United States of America, Plaintiff,
v.
$76, 921.47 seized from Wells Fargo Bank Account XXXXXX6541, et al., Defendants.

ORDER

DAVID G. CAMPBELL, District Judge.

Before the Court is Claimants' motion to vacate judgment. Doc. 28. Claimants urge the Court to overlook their three-month delay in responding to Plaintiff's motion for summary judgment. Claimants assert that retained counsel's hectic work schedule, combined with this Court's failure to provide a date to respond to Plaintiff's motion for summary judgment, explain Claimants' failure to respond to the motion and justify vacating the order granting summary judgment. Id. at 2-3.

The Court will deny Claimants' motion. Retained counsel's failure to respond to Plaintiff's motion for summary judgment was not the basis for granting the motion. The Court addressed the motion on the merits and granted summary judgment because Claimants failed to respond to Plaintiff's requests for admission. Doc. 26 at 5-6. Unanswered requests for admission are deemed admitted and "may be relied on as a basis for granting summary judgment." Conlon v. United States, 474 F.3d 616, 621 (9th Cir. 2007); Fed.R.Civ.P. 36(a)(3). The government asked each Claimant to "[a]dmit that the defendant property are proceeds or property traceable to being involved in a transaction or attempted transaction in violation of 21 U.S.C. § 881(A)(6), 18 U.S.C. § 981(a)(1)(A) and 18 U.S.C. § 981(A)(1)(C)." Doc. 24 ¶ 147 or 153. Claimants failed to respond, and their resulting admissions covered every item of disputed property in this action. As a result, all defendants in rem were subject to forfeiture and the Court properly granted summary judgment.

Claimants assert that an unrepresented party, Ms. Pamela Womack, is prejudiced by the Court's order granting summary judgment. But Ms. Womack has not filed an answer or otherwise appeared. She is not a claimant in this case. Indeed, default was entered against her and all potential claimants other than White and Higginbotham on June 20, 2013. Doc. 22.[1]

IT IS ORDERED that Claimants' motion to vacate judgment (Doc. 28) is denied.


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