Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

McCann v. Spencer Plantation Investments, Ltd.

Court of Appeals of Texas, First District

February 28, 2017

MICHAEL A. MCCANN, Appellant
v.
SPENCER PLANTATION INVESTMENTS, LTD., Appellee

         On Appeal from the 23rd District Court Brazoria County, Texas, Trial Court Case No. 79855-CV

          Panel consists of Justices Jennings, Keyes, and Brown.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

          TERRY JENNINGS JUSTICE.

         Appellant, Michael A. McCann, challenges the trial court's rendition of summary judgment in favor of appellee, Spencer Plantation Investments, Ltd. ("Spencer"), in McCann's suit to quiet title to real property located in Brazoria County, Texas. In fourteen issues, McCann contends that the trial court erred in granting Spencer summary judgment in a "clear absence of jurisdiction" and without a hearing; enforcing a quitclaim deed that is based upon alleged federal tax claims that the Internal Revenue Service ("IRS") and the United States Tax Court ("Tax Court") later dismissed in his favor; overruling the Tax Court's final decision on tax issues; hearing and ruling on federal claims previously adjudicated in federal court; finding him "guilty of federal tax issues, " which the IRS and Tax Court dismissed; depriving him of his real property without his having been convicted of violating any laws or having committed a tort, breach of contract, or "any other act punishable by law"; denying him constitutional Due Process and Equal Protection[1]; not "follow[ing] the Oath of Office to uphold the United States Constitution"; and violating the Double Jeopardy Clause[2] and Eighth Amendment[3]of the United States Constitution.

         We affirm.

         Background

         In his original petition, McCann sued to quiet title against both Spencer and the IRS, alleging that Spencer had purchased McCann's real property in Brazoria County (the "property") for $189, 000 at an IRS tax sale and had received a quitclaim deed from the IRS. McCann argued that Spencer's quitclaim deed was "obtained illegally from the IRS" and the IRS "had no right to seize and sell [the] property" because it lacked jurisdiction, he did not receive the requisite notice before or after the sale, and his tax liabilities were in dispute. He alleged that Spencer and the IRS had engaged in a conspiracy to deprive him of the property. And he sought damages in excess of $10 million.

         After the IRS removed the case to the United States District Court for the Southern District of Texas, the court dismissed the IRS from the case and remanded McCann's claims against Spencer to the state court below.

         Spencer then moved for summary judgment, arguing that it was entitled to judgment as a matter of law on McCann's suit to quiet title because the evidence established that Spencer's claim of title to the property was valid and superior to that of McCann. Specifically, the evidence showed that the IRS complied with all of the procedural requirements in seizing and selling the property and McCann, at the time the IRS seized and sold the property, had tax liabilities in excess of $2.6 million.

         Spencer attached to its summary-judgment motion a copy of the IRS quitclaim deed, which is recorded in the real property records of Brazoria County. Spencer also attached a copy of the affidavit[4] of Amelia Lerma, an IRS Revenue Officer Technical Advisor. Lerma testified that she was responsible for processing the seizure, levy, and sale paperwork for the property, which the IRS sold to partially satisfy McCann's federal tax liabilities, which exceeded $2.6 million. On October 23, 2012, IRS Revenue Officer James Ashton personally delivered to McCann a notice of seizure of the property. Although the initial public auction of the property was scheduled for February 5, 2013, it had to be re-scheduled three times because of McCann's "serial bankruptcy filings." On February 14, 2014, IRS Property Appraisal and Liquidation Specialist Sheila Kuykendall personally delivered to McCann a Notice of Public Auction Sale, which was scheduled for 10:00 a.m. on March 10, 2014 at the Brazoria County Courthouse in Angleton, Texas. On March 10, 2014, the IRS sold the property at public auction to Spencer. And, on October 21, 2014, the IRS issued Spencer a quitclaim deed to the property. Lerma then mailed to McCann a copy of the Seized Property Sale Report, Record of Seizure and Sale, and Notice of Encumbrances. Lerma further testified that the IRS complied with all of the procedural requirements in seizing and selling the property. Appended to Lerma's affidavit are copies of her letter, report, and the notices to McCann.

         Spencer also attached to its summary-judgment motion the July 23, 2015 removal order of the United States District Court. In its order, the court stated that McCann had been engaged in litigation with the IRS over the collection of his taxes for approximately fifteen years. On November 24, 2010, the Tax Court entered a decision upholding the IRS's authority to proceed with the collection of McCann's income tax liability for the tax years 1997, 1998, and 1999. In 2012, the IRS began the process of seizing McCann's property to partially satisfy his tax liabilities. And Ashton and Kuykendall, on October 23, 2012 and February 14, 2014, respectively, personally delivered to McCann a notice of seizure of the property and a Notice of Public Auction Sale. On March 10, 2014, the IRS sold the property to Spencer at public auction. Subsequently, McCann brought the instant suit against Spencer and the IRS to quiet title to the property, alleging that neither Spencer nor the IRS had given him notice of the sale of the property and that the IRS was without jurisdiction to collect his taxes or to seize the property. The court held that McCann's claim against the IRS was barred by sovereign immunity and his claim that the IRS lacked jurisdiction or authority to seize the property was without merit. Thus, it dismissed McCann's claims against the IRS and remanded his claims against Spencer. The court noted that McCann had "misrepresent[ed] the decision of the United States Tax Court, which [had] held that the Tax Court lacked jurisdiction to hear his claims, not that the IRS lacked jurisdiction in this matter."

         In his response to Spencer's summary-judgment motion, McCann asserted that Spencer had not met its burden of proof and was not entitled to summary judgment as a matter of law. He argued that there was a genuine issue of material fact regarding the validity of the IRS's quitclaim deed to Spencer because the IRS, subsequent to its issuance of the deed, admitted that it had failed to give McCann sufficient notice of his tax liabilities and had abandoned its tax liability claims against him. Further, the Tax Court, on July 31, 2014, issued an order exonerating him of all of his tax liabilities. McCann asserted that this order superseded any prior ruling. He conceded, however, that Spencer is correct in that the IRS correctly followed its procedural requirements in seizing and selling the property.

         McCann attached to his response copies of the July 31, 2014 and March 24, 2015 orders of the Tax Court. In each of its orders, the court granted the motion of the Commissioner of the IRS to dismiss McCann's lawsuit against it for lack of jurisdiction. And the court noted that McCann did not object to the granting of the motion.

         Upon submission without a hearing, the trial court granted summary judgment in favor of Spencer.

         Standard of Review

         We review a trial court's summary judgment de novo. Valence Operating Co. v. Dorsett, 164 S.W.3d 656, 661 (Tex. 2005); Provident Life & Accident Ins. Co. v. Knott, 128 S.W.3d 211, 215 (Tex. 2003). In conducting our review, we take as true all evidence favorable to the non-movant, and we indulge every reasonable inference and resolve any doubts in the non-movant's favor. Valence Operating, 164 S.W.3d at 661; Provident Life & Accident Ins., 128 S.W.3d at 215. If a trial court grants summary judgment without specifying the grounds for granting the motion, we must uphold the trial court's ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.