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United States v. Dodson

United States District Court, E.D. Oklahoma

February 23, 2018

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff,
v.
THOMAS RALPH DODSON, SR.; THOMAS RALPH DODSON, JR.; MADISON SHAR DODSON; and MURRAY COUNTY TREASURER, Defendants.

          FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATION

          KIMBERLY E. WEST, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

         This matter comes before this Court on the United States' Motion for Entry of Default Judgment and Summary Judgment (Docket Entry #22). By Order entered February 14, 2018, United States District Judge James H. Payne, the judge presiding over this case, referred the subject Motion to the undersigned for the entry of Findings and a Recommendation as to its disposition.

         On October 4, 2016, the United States initiated this action to obtain a money judgment against Defendant Thomas Ralph Dodson, Sr. in compensation for his unpaid federal income tax liability for the tax years of 2004, 2005, and 2009. Through the pending Motion, the United States alleges the amount assessed and due and owing totals $77, 369.06 as of December 18, 2017.

         The United States also allege claims against Defendants Thomas Ralph Dodson, Jr. and Madison Shar Dodson, contending that Defendant Thomas Ralph Dodson, Sr. fraudulently transferred certain real property to avoid the use of the property to satisfy the outstanding federal tax liability. The United States alleges that the property was transferred to these Defendants without receiving the reasonably equivalent value for it while the United States was a creditor of Defendant Thomas Ralph Dodson, Sr. and while he was insolvent at the time of the transfer.

         The record indicates that Defendants were properly served on December 11, 2016. No answer or other response to the Complaint has been filed by Defendants.

         On September 29, 2017, the Clerk of this Court entered a default against Defendant Thomas Ralph Dodson, Sr. On January 18, 2018, the Clerk entered a default against Defendant Thomas Ralph Dodson, Jr.

         Although not filed of record in the case, the United States submitted a copy of a notarized and executed document entitled “Answer of Defendant Madison Shar Dodson (Witness Affidavit)” as an exhibit to its Motion. The document was notarized on December 6, 2016. In the document, Defendant Madison Shar Dodson indicated that she executed a Quit Claim Deed to Thomas Ralph Dodson, Jr. and that she acted as a “nominee” and not a fee owner of the property. She requested to be dismissed as a necessary party from the action and that any deficiency judgment be assessed against the principal, Defendant Thomas Ralph Dodson, Sr.

         In accordance with Fed.R.Civ.P. 55(b)(2), this Court finds and recommends that a default judgment be entered against Defendants Thomas Ralph Dodson, Sr. and Thomas Ralph Dodson, Jr. in this action. Since the amount owed is ascertainable through the United States' assessment, no hearing is necessary to determine the amount of the damages for the judgment. Fed.R.Civ.P. 55(b)(2)(B). Accordingly, having been found in default, judgment should be entered against Defendant Thomas Ralph Dodson, Sr. and in favor of the United States in the assessed amount of $77, 369.06 plus interest and statutory additions accruing after December 18, 2017.

         The record also indicates that no response to the summary judgment motion was filed within the time required by this Court's local rules. As a result, the allegations in the Motion are deemed confessed by Defendants. LCvR EDOK 7.1(d). The United States' federal tax liens arose upon the assessment of due and owing federal income taxes and Defendant Thomas Ralph Dodson, Sr.'s failure to pay his tax liabilities. 16 U.S.C. §§ 6321, 6322. The tax liens had attached on September 4, 2013 when Mr. Dodson, Sr. purportedly transferred the property located at 1811 West Ardmore Avenue, Sulphur, Oklahoma to his children. As a result, the transfer was subject to the United States' tax liens and the United States may now enforce its liens against the Sulphur property.

         To the extent the transfer of the Sulphur property could be considered superior to the federal tax liens, the evidence indicates that the transfer was fraudulent as to the United States as a creditor to Defendant Thomas Ralph Dodson, Sr. Mr. Dodson, Sr. had been informed by and IRS Revenue Officer of the demand to pay the due and owing assessed taxes on August 22, 2013. At the time of the subsequent transfer, the evidence indicates that the United States was a creditor of Mr. Dodson, Sr., the transfer was made to hinder, delay, or defraud this creditor, the transfer was made without Mr. Dodson, Sr. receiving reasonably equivalent value for the property, and Mr. Dodson, Sr. was insolvent at the time of the transfer. Okla. Stat. tit. 24 §§ 116, 117. The transfer should, therefore, be avoided as fraudulent.

         BASED UPON THE FOREGOING, IT IS THE RECOMMENDATION OF THE UNDERSIGNED that (1) default judgment be entered against Defendant Thomas Ralph Dodson, Sr. and in favor of the United States in the amount of $77, 369.06 plus interest and statutory additions accruing after December 18, 2017; (2) summary judgment be entered in favor of the United States and against Defendants Thomas Ralph Dodson, Jr. and Madison Shar Dodson in that the transfer of the Sulphur property was fraudulently made and is, therefore, avoided. Moreover, the transfer was made subject to the federal tax liens of the United States; and (3) the federal tax liens in favor of the United States be enforced and the Sulphur property be sold and the proceeds be applied to Mr. Dodson, Sr.'s due and owing assessed federal tax liabilities as more fully set out herein.

         The parties are herewith given fourteen (14) days from the date of the service of these Findings and Recommendation to file with the Clerk of the court any objections, with supporting brief. Failure to object to the Findings and Recommendation within ...


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