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United States v. Real Property Located at 6107 Hogg Road

United States District Court, D. Idaho

January 13, 2017

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff,
v.
Real Property Located at 6107 Hogg Road, Marsing, Owyhee County, Idaho, being parcel number 009700010030, including any and all fixtures, improvements and appurtenances thereon; U.S. Currency including the sums of $16, 084 and $102, 000, more or less; Gold and Silver and coins including Two 2 Silver Dollar coins 1889 and 1922, Five 5 $10 Gaming Pieces, Seven 7 $10 Gaming pieces/coins, Fifteen 15 Engelhard 1-Troy-Ounce of Silver, Eight 8 10-Ounce Silver Bars, One 1100-Ounce Gold/Silver Bar, One 1 Five-Ounce Silver Bar, One 1 Gold Colored Ring, One 1 Gold Colored Ring with Skull Carving, One 1 Austrian Philharmonics One-Ounce Gold Coin, Twenty-One 21 American Gold Eagle Liberty 1-Ounce Gold Coins, Twenty-six 26 Canadian Gold Maple Leaf One-Ounce Gold Coins, Ten 10 $10 gaming pieces from Las Vegas Casinos; One $20 Bill, and One 1 Gold Colored Ring with a Clear Stone; Three 3 $100 bills; Three 3 One-Ounce Canadian Maple Leaf Gold Coins; a 2002 Harley Davidson Motorcycle, Idaho License MSM731; a 1952 Willey's Jeep, Idaho License 1A2D138; and a 2002 Subaru Outback, VIN: 4S3BE896327203958, Defendants.

         MEMORANDUM DECISION AND ORDER RE: MOTION FOR DISCOVERY INCLUDING DEPOSITIONS (DKT. 126); MOTION FOR CONTINUANCE OF DISPOSITIVE MOTIONS (DKT. 128); MOTION TO QUASH DISCOVERY, OR, ALTERNATIVELY, MOTION FOR PROTECTIVE ORDER (DKT. 133); MOTION FOR DEFAULT JUDGMENT AS TO NICHOLAS CORSON (DKT. 144); MOTION TO ENFORCE CLAIMANT PACE'S PRODUCTION OF STIPULATED CONTACT INFORMATION FOR PONZO'S CHILDREN (DKT. 145); AND MOTION TO EXTEND TIME TO REPLY TO RESPONSE (DKT. 148)

          Honorable Candy W. Dale United States Magistrate Judge.

         Canadian Maple Leaf Gold Coins; a 2002 Harley Davidson Motorcycle, Idaho License MSM731; a 1952 Willey's Jeep, Idaho License 1A2D138; and a 2002 Subaru Outback, VIN: 4S3BE896327203958, Defendants.

         INTRODUCTION

         Pending before the Court are seven motions: (1) Claimant Ponzo's Motion for Discovery Including Depositions (Dkt. 126); (2) Ponzo's Second Motion for Continuance of Dispositive Motions (Dkt. 128); (3) the United States' Motion to Dismiss (Dkt. 132); (4) the United States' Motion to Quash Discovery, or alternatively, Motion for Protective Order (Dkt. 133); (5) the United States' Motion for Default Judgment as to Nicholas Corson (Dkt. 144); (6) Ponzo's Motion to Enforce Claimant Pace's Production of Stipulated Contact Information for Ponzo's Children (Dkt. 145).; and (7) Ponzo's Motion to Extend Time to Reply to Respond (Dkt. 148).[1] The Court will first address the status of the motion to dismiss before it addresses the other motions separately below.

         I. Notice of the Court Re: United States' Motion to Dismiss (Dkt. 132)

         The United States filed a motion seeking to dismiss certain defendant property items and seeking also to dismiss the claims of Ponzo for lack of standing. (Dkt. 132.) In consideration of footnote five in the motion and upon review of the record to date, the Court may consider matters outside the pleadings, and thus, may treat the motion as one for summary judgment under Fed.R.Civ.P. 56. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(d). As such, the Court will provide Ponzo the opportunity to present any materials that are pertinent to the motion, i.e., any evidence that supports Ponzo's ownership interest in the Jeep, motorcycle, and the Subaru. If Ponzo chooses to file additional materials, he must do so with his sur-response to the United States' motion to dismiss on or before February 27, 2017.[2]

         II. Discovery Motions (Dkt. 126, 133)

         On October 24, 2016, Ponzo filed a motion seeking discovery and for leave of the Court to depose ten witnesses. (Dkt. 126.) The same day, Ponzo filed his First Set of Interrogatories, Request for Production of Documents and Request for Admissions addressed to the United States and various other individuals who are not parties to this civil forfeiture action.[3] (Dkt. 127).

         The United States objects to Ponzo's motion for discovery and his request to depose ten witnesses and seeks an order quashing Ponzo's First Set of Interrogatories, Request for Production of Documents and Request for Admissions on the grounds Ponzo's discovery requests are not relevant and not proportional to the needs of the litigants in this civil forfeiture action. (Dkt. 133.) Alternatively, the United States seeks a protective order under Rule 26(c)(A) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure forbidding the discovery requested by Ponzo until the Court resolves the United States' pending motion to dismiss. For the reasons that follow, the Court will deny Ponzo's discovery motion and his request for leave to take depositions, and will grant the United States' requested protective order as to Ponzo's First Set of Interrogatories, Request for Production of Documents and Request for Admissions.

         As amended effective December 1, 2015, Fed.R.Civ.P. 26(b)(1) provides that:

Parties may obtain discovery regarding any nonprivileged matter that is relevant to any party's claim or defense and proportional to the needs of the case, considering the importance of the issues at stake in the action, the amount in controversy, the parties' relative access to relevant information, the parties' resources, the importance of the discovery in resolving the issues, and whether the burden or expense of the proposed discovery outweighs its likely benefit. Information within this scope of discovery need not be admissible in evidence to be discoverable.

         “No longer is it good enough to hope that the information sought might lead to the discovery of admissible evidence. In fact, the old language to that effect is gone. Instead, a party seeking discovery of relevant, non-privileged information must show, before anything else, that the discovery sought is proportional to the needs of the case.” Dao v. Liberty Life Assurance Co. of Boston, 2016 WL 796095, at *3 (N.D. Cal. Feb. 23, 2016) (quoting Gilead Scis., Inc. v. Merck & Co, Inc., 2016 WL 146574, at *1 (N.D. Cal. Jan. 13, 2016)).

         As a threshold matter in a civil forfeiture action, a claimant must have both statutory standing and Article III standing to assert a claim of interest in defendant property. United States v. One 1985 Cadillac Seville, 866 F.2d 1142, 1148 (9th Cir. 1989). Statutory standing can be established by meeting the filing requirements in Supplemental Rule G(5). To establish Article III standing, the claimant must “demonstrate a colorable interest in the defendant property, for example, by showing actual possession, control, title, or financial stake.” Real Prop. located at 5294 Bandy Rd., Priest River, Bonner Cty., 2014 WL 5513748, at *5, quoting 5208 Los Franciscos Way, 385 F.3d at 1191. Only if the claimant ...


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