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United States v. McHenry

United States District Court, W.D. Washington, Seattle

March 9, 2017

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff,
v.
BLAIR ALLEN McHENRY; BARBARA McLEOD; and SUSAN KANE-RONNING, Defendants.

          ORDER GRANTING THE GOVERNMENT'S MOTION FOR DEFAULT JUDGMENT

          JOHN C. COUGHENOUR UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         This matter comes before the Court on the Government's motion for default judgment (Dkt. No. 18). Having thoroughly considered the parties' briefing and the relevant record, the Court finds oral argument unnecessary and hereby GRANTS the motion for the reasons explained herein.

         The Clerk entered an order of default against Defendants Blair Allen McHenry, Barbara McLeod, and Susan Kane-Ronning on November 8, 2016. (Dkt. No. 16.) On February 14, 2017, the Government brought this motion for default judgment. (Dkt. No. 18.) Defendants did not respond to the motion.

         “At the default judgment stage, the court presumes all well-pleaded factual allegations related to liability are true.” Curtis v. Illumination Arts, Inc., 33 F.Supp.3d 1200, 1211 (W.D. Wash. 2014); see also TeleVideo Sys., Inc. v. Heidenthal, 826 F.2d 915, 917-18 (9th Cir. 1987). However, factual allegations relating to the amount of damages are not taken as true. Curtis, 33 F.Supp.3d at 1211. A “plaintiff is required to prove all damages sought in the complaint, and the court must ensure that the amount of damages is reasonable and demonstrated by the evidence.” Id.

         The Government alleges that Defendant McHenry's indebtedness to the Farm Service Agency (FSA) arose out of a series of promissory notes executed on April 7, 2006. (Dkt. Nos. 1 at 2-5, 1-1, 1-2, 1-3, 1-4, 1-5, 1-7, 1-9, 1-11, 1-13, 1-15, 1-16, 1-17, 1-19, 1-20, 1-21.) The notes were secured by mortgages on real property identified in the complaint. (Dkt. No. 1 at 2.) The Government further alleges that Defendant McHenry owed $387, 998.94 as of January 27, 2016, with interest accruing at the daily rate of $26.81.[1] (Dkt. No. 18 at 3.) Finally, the Government alleges Defendant McHenry defaulted by (1) being delinquent in payment of his indebtedness, and (2) failing to pay his real estate taxes. (Dkt. No. 1 at 7.) The Government supports the amount of damages claimed with a declaration from FSA Farm Loan Specialist Houston Bruck. (Dkt. No. 19 at 2.)

         Taking these allegations as true, the Court finds that they are sufficient to establish liability. The Court further finds that Mr. Bruck's declaration and the terms of the promissory notes attached to the complaint support the Government's damage calculations.

         Accordingly, the Government's motion for default judgment (Dkt. No. 18) is GRANTED. The Court AWARDS the following relief to the Government:

         1. That the United States has and recovers judgment in its favor against Defendant Blair Allen McHenry, in the sum of $387, 998.94, ($371, 734.51 principal, $16, 264.43 interest accrued through January 27, 2017), plus interest accrued in the amount of $26.81 daily from January 27, 2017 to the date of judgment; plus interest from the date of judgment at the rate set forth in 28 U.S.C. § 1961, and filing fees allowed pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2412(a)(2). The Court also GRANTS the Government's request for reasonable attorney fees plus court costs, the costs and expenses of this action presently, and the costs and expenses that will be incurred in the future for advertising, selling, and conveying the property. The Government is ORDERED to provide specific and detailed documentation of its hours and expenses incurred after the sale of the property.

         2. That the foregoing real estate mortgages and security agreements cover the following described property (the Real Property) situated in Whatcom County, Washington as follows:

A tract of land situated in the Southwest quarter of the Northeast quarter and in the Northwest quarter of the Southeast quarter of Section 5, Township 39 North, Range 2 East of W.M., more particularly described as follows:
Beginning at a quarter stake on the South line of Section 5, Township 39 North, Range 2 East of W.M.; thence North 3126 feet on the quarter line to a point 439 feet North of the center of said Section, which is the point of true beginning; thence South 480 feet on the quarter line to a point 41 feet South of the center of said Section; thence Easterly South 89°30' East along the line of the 25 Year Old Fence a distance of 900 feet; thence North parallel to the West line of said quarter Section a distance of 500 feet; thence Westerly to the point of beginning. Except the North 230 feet thereof
Except Enterprise Road
Situated in Whatcom County, Washington.

         3. That the real property mortgages attached to the complaint, (Dkt. Nos. 1-6, 1-8, 1-10, 1-12, 1-14, 1-18, 1-22, 1-23, 1-24), are hereby foreclosed and the property is hereby ORDERED to be sold pursuant to the provision of 28 U.S.C. § 2001, et. seq., with the proceeds of the property sale applied first to the costs and expenses of making the sale and secondly, to the payment of the sums due to the United States on ...


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