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Dinwiddie v. United States

United States District Court, D. Idaho

January 7, 2020

JULIE DINWIDDIE, Plaintiff,
v.
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Defendant.

          MEMORANDUM DECISION AND ORDER

          David C. Nye Chief U.S. District Court Judge

         I. INTRODUCTION

         Pending before the Court is Plaintiff Julie Dinwiddie's (“Julie”)[1] Motion for Additional Time Within Which to Disclose Advancing Expert Witnesses and Rebuttal Witnesses (“Motion”). Dkt. 27. Having reviewed the record and briefs, the Court finds that the facts and legal arguments are adequately presented. Accordingly, the Court finds that the decisional process would not be significantly aided by oral argument, the Court will decide the motions without oral argument. Dist. Idaho Loc. Civ. R. 7.1(d)(1)(B). Based on the following, the Court finds good cause to GRANT Julie's Motion.

         II. BACKGROUND

         A. General

         This case revolves around the transfer of 100% of the shares of stock in Evergreen Nursery, Inc. (“ENI”) from Jeff Dinwiddie (“Jeff”) to his wife, Julie, on January 5, 2012. In January 2012, ENI was no longer an operating entity and its only asset was real estate located at 12580 Old Seward Highway in Anchorage, Alaska (the “Property”). At the time Jeff transferred the stock, his federal tax liabilities exceeded five-million dollars.

         In December 2012, ENI sold the Property to Condor LLC (“Condor”) and provided seller financing to Condor. Under the seller financing agreement, Condor makes monthly payments to ENI, which accumulates in a bank account in ENI's name.

         In March 2018, Julie, as the sole owner of ENI, directed the bank to transfer more than $94, 000 from the ENI bank account to her personal account. The IRS levied these funds in partial satisfaction of Jeff's federal tax liability. Julie then filed this case on May 7, 2018, alleging that the IRS wrongfully levied on her property to satisfy the federal tax liabilities of her husband. Dkt. 1.

         B. Affirmative Defenses

         As is relevant to the Motion, on June 27, 2018, the United States filed an answer to Julie's Complaint, asserting as its only affirmative defense that Julie was a nominee of her husband with respect to ENI.[2] Then, on February 5, 2019, in a response to an interrogatory, the United States stated that Jeff's transfer to Julie “was fraudulent under the laws of the State of Alaska.” Dkt. 31-1, at 8. Roughly six months later, on August 1, 2019, the United States filed an Amended Answer, adding fraudulent transfer as an affirmative defense. Dkt. 26. August 1, 2019, was also the expert rebuttal disclosures cutoff, but due to a series of stipulated delays and extensions, Julie had until August 20, 2019, to submit rebuttal reports.

         Julie filed this Motion on August 27, 2019, asking the Court to extend the expert discovery cutoff date. She argues that the affirmative defense of fraudulent conveyance is different than the affirmative defense that she was a nominee of her husband. With this new affirmative defense, Julie contends she will need to submit an additional expert report that will provide a proper valuation of the ENI stock that was transferred, rather than the valuation of the Property. The United States counters that Julie was aware of its intent to provide evidence of fraudulent transfer because it stated such in a response to interrogatories. According to the United States, since Julie did not diligently seek this discovery between February 5, 2019, and the close of expert discovery, there is no good cause to modify the scheduling order to allow her additional expert report.

         III. LEGAL STANDARD

         Once entered, a scheduling order “controls the course of the action unless the court modifies it.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 16(e). This scheduling order “may be modified only for good cause and with the judge's consent.” Id. at 16(b)(4). A district court may modify the pretrial schedule “if it cannot reasonably be met despite the diligence of the party seeking the extension.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 16 advisory committee's notes (1983 amendment). The focus of the inquiry, therefore, is upon the moving party's reasons for seeking modification. C.F. v. Capistrano Unified Sch. Dist. 654 F.3d 975, 984 (9th Cir. 2011) (quoting Johnson v. Mammoth Recreations, Inc., 975 F.2d 604, 610 (9th Cir. 1992); T. Dorfman, Inc. v. Melaleuca, Inc., 2013 WL 5676808 (D. Idaho October 18, 2013) at *2.

         IV. ...


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