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.

Coats v. United States

United States District Court, E.D. Texas, Sherman Division

May 9, 2019

PEGGIE J. COATS
v.
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

          Nowak Judge.

          MEMORANDUM ADOPTING IN PART AND REJECTING IN PART REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION OF UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

          AMOS L. MAZZANT UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         Came on for consideration the report of the United States Magistrate Judge in this action, this matter having been heretofore referred to the Magistrate Judge pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636. On November 9, 2018, the report of the Magistrate Judge (“the Report”) (Dkt. #50) was entered containing proposed findings of fact and recommendations that Defendant's Motion to Dismiss Third Amended Complaint (Dkt. #36) and Plaintiff's Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings (Dkt. #42) both be denied. Defendant filed objections to the report on December 14, 2018 (Dkt. #59). The Court adopts in part and rejects in part the Report.

         BACKGROUND

         The underlying facts of this case have previously been set forth in the Magistrate Judge's report; as such, the Court sets forth only those facts pertinent to the Government's Objections.

         On August 10, 2017, Plaintiff filed suit against the Government, seeking “an order to quiet title and remove the illegal, invalid and unenforceable lien on the property” located at 737 Snowshill Trail, Coppell, Texas 75019 (the “Coppell Property”) (Dkt. #1). Several years prior to the instant suit, Plaintiff's husband[1] was charged with two violations of 18 U.S.C. § 1341, Mail Fraud, in a two-count information in April 2009. United States v. Andrew Robert Coats, No. 4:09-cr-47 (Dkt. #1) (E.D. Tex. 2009). Plaintiff and her husband were alleged to have defrauded inmates' family members with the promise of early parole for their incarcerated family members. See id. Plaintiff's husband entered a guilty plea on May 7, 2009, and was sentenced to 150 months imprisonment, and ordered to pay $949, 345.53 in restitution to the victims. Id. at (Dkt. #11; Dkt. #42). The Government thereafter filed judgment liens pursuant to the Mandatory Victims' Restitution Act (“MVRA”), in Dallas County and Panola County, Texas, locations where Plaintiff's husband was known to hold real property interests. With respect to these same charges, Plaintiff received and completed pretrial diversion. Id. at (Dkt. #22 at p. 21).

         On June 28, 2010, Plaintiff purchased the Coppell Property. The Deed of Trust for the Coppell Property identifies the borrowers as “Peggie Coats, Joined Herein Pro Forma by Her Husband, Andy B. Coats, ” and bears Plaintiff and her husband's signatures (Dkt. #36, Exhibit 3 at p. 3). After discovering the Coppell Property, the Government filed a federal restitution judgment lien in Denton, County in July 2013. Plaintiff's Third Amended Complaint alleges that the Government may not impose any federal judgment lien related to her husband's criminal restitution on the Coppell Property because such property is Plaintiff's separate property (Dkt. #32).

         The Government filed its Motion to Dismiss on April 10, 2018 (Dkt. #36), Plaintiff responded on April 24, 2018 (Dkt. #38), the Government replied on April 27, 2018 (Dkt. #39), and Plaintiff filed a sur-reply on May 9, 2018 (Dkt. #40). Subsequently, on June 15, 2018, Plaintiff filed a Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings (Dkt. #42), on July 9, 2018, the Government responded (Dkt. #46), and on July 18, 2018, Plaintiff replied (Dkt. #48). On November 9, 2018, the Magistrate Judge entered the Report, recommending that Plaintiff's Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings (Dkt. #42) and the Government's Motion to Dismiss (Dkt. #36) each be denied, and further recommending that the issue of whether the Coppell Property constituted Plaintiff's separate property should be decided at summary judgment. On November 16, 2018, the Court granted the Government's request for an extension of time to file objections, extending the deadline to object to December 7, 2018 (Dkt. #52). On November 27, 2018, the Court granted Plaintiff's request for an extension of time to file objections to the Report, extending the deadline for all Parties to object to December 14, 2018 (Dkt. #55). On December 12, 2018, Plaintiff filed a Motion to Show the Court Affirmative Evidence (Tracing of Funds), which is construed as a motion for summary judgment (Dkt. #60; Dkt. #61).[2] However, Plaintiff did not file any objections to the Report. On December 14, 2018, the Government filed Objections to the Report (Dkt. #59). Plaintiff filed a response to these objections on January 7, 2019 (Dkt. #62).

         LEGAL STANDARD

         The Federal Rules of Civil Procedure require that each claim in a complaint include a “short and plain statement . . . showing that the pleader is entitled to relief.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2). Each claim must include enough factual allegations “to raise a right to relief above the speculative level.” Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007).

         A Rule 12(b)(6) motion allows a party to move for dismissal of an action when the complaint fails to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6). When considering a motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6), the Court must accept as true all well-pleaded facts in the plaintiff's complaint and view those facts in the light most favorable to the plaintiff. Bowlby v. City of Aberdeen, 681 F.3d 215, 219 (5th Cir. 2012). The Court may consider “the complaint, any documents attached to the complaint, and any documents attached to the motion to dismiss that are central to the claim and referenced by the complaint.” Lone Star Fund V (U.S.), L.P. v. Barclays Bank PLC, 594 F.3d 383, 387 (5th Cir. 2010). The Court must then determine whether the complaint states a claim for relief that is plausible on its face. ‘“A claim has facial plausibility when the plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the [C]ourt to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged.'” Gonzalez v. Kay, 577 F.3d 600, 603 (5th Cir. 2009) (quoting Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009)). “But where the well-pleaded facts do not permit the [C]ourt to infer more than the mere possibility of misconduct, the complaint has alleged-but it has not ‘show[n]'-‘that the pleader is entitled to relief.'” Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 679 (quoting Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2)).

         In Iqbal, the Supreme Court established a two-step approach for assessing the sufficiency of a complaint in the context of a Rule 12(b)(6) motion. First, the Court should identify and disregard conclusory allegations, for they are “not entitled to the assumption of truth.” Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 664. Second, the Court “consider[s] the factual allegations in [the complaint] to determine if they plausibly suggest an entitlement to relief.” Id. “This standard ‘simply calls for enough facts to raise a reasonable expectation that discovery will reveal evidence of the necessary claims or elements.'” Morgan v. Hubert, 335 Fed.Appx. 466, 470 (5th Cir. 2009) (citation omitted). This evaluation will “be a context-specific task that requires the reviewing court to draw on its judicial experience and common sense.” Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 679.

         Thus, “[t]o survive a motion to dismiss, a complaint must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to ‘state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.”' Id. at 678 (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 570).

         ANALYSIS

         A party who files timely written objections to a magistrate judge's report and recommendation is entitled to a de novo review of those findings or recommendations to which the party specifically objects. 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(C); Fed.R.Civ.P. 72(b)(2)-(3).

         The Report first recommended that Plaintiff's Motion for Judgment on the pleadings be denied as premature on the basis that the Government had yet to file an answer. No. objections were made to this recommendation. Accordingly, these findings and conclusions of the Magistrate Judge are adopted as those of the Court and the Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings should be denied.

         The Report next recommended that the Government's Motion to Dismiss also be denied maintaining that, taking the Plaintiff's allegations as true, it was plausible that the funds used to purchase the Coppell Property were traceable to Plaintiff's separate property. The Government objected arguing that the motion to dismiss should be granted because, as a matter of law, the entirety of the Coppell Property is community property. The Court agrees that the motion to dismiss should be granted, but disagrees with the Government's way at arriving at such conclusion.

         Plaintiff filed suit seeking “an order to quiet title and remove the illegal, invalid and unenforceable lien on the property.” (Dkt. #1). The law as it stands, allows ...


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.