United States District Court, N.D. Alabama, Middle Division
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
ANNEMARIE CARNEY AXON, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
the court are cross-motions for summary judgment filed by
Plaintiff United States (doc. 45), Defendant Rachel
Kleinatland (doc. 47), and Defendant David Scott Dase, doing
business as Advance Tooling (doc. 49).
person’s failure “to pay any tax” after the
government’s demand for payment creates “a lien
in favor of the United States upon all property and rights to
property, whether real or personal, belonging to such
person.” 26 U.S.C. § 6321. The government may
enforce the lien by requesting that the court order a
judicial sale of that property. Id. § 7403(c);
United States v. Rodgers, 461 U.S. 677, 680 (1983).
case, it is undisputed that the government has obtained a
default judgment against Mr. Dase for unpaid taxes. (Doc.
45-2 at 3; see also United States v. Dase, No.
4:16-cv-01957-KOB, Doc. 13 (M.D. Ala. Sept. 27, 2017)). As a
result, the government requests that the court order the sale
of property that it contends Mr. Dase owns. (See
Doc. 21 at 4). The parties agree that Mr. Dase has an
interest in the property at issue, but they dispute how much
of an interest. The government contends that Mr. Dase owns
the property in full; Mr. Dase and Ms. Kleinatland contend
that each of them has a one-half interest.
government seeks summary judgment on its own claims that Mr.
Dase owns the property in full and that it is entitled to
seek a forced sale of the property under § 7403. (Doc.
45). Ms. Kleinatland seeks partial summary judgment on the
government’s claim that Mr. Dase owns the property in
full, and requests that the court either enter an order
preventing the government from foreclosing on her interest in
the property, or order the government to compensate her for
the loss of her use of the whole property. (Doc. 47). Mr.
Dase seeks partial summary judgment on the government’s
claim that he owns the property in full, and requests a
finding that the government cannot enforce its lien against
the property. (Doc. 49).
court will discuss in more detail below, under
Alabama’s intestacy laws, the undisputed evidence
establishes that Mr. Dase and Ms. Kleinatland each have a
one-half interest in the land. Accordingly, the court
DENIES the government’s motion for
summary judgment. The court GRANTS IN PART
Mr. Dase’s and Ms. Kleinatland’s motions for
partial summary judgment and ENTERS SUMMARY
JUDGMENT in their favor and against the government
on the government’s claim that Mr. Dase owns the
property in full. But the court DENIES IN
PART Mr. Dase’s and Ms. Kleinatland’s
motions for partial summary judgment as to their other
requests. The three parties to this case must do further
briefing on those issues before the court can rule on them.
cross-motions for summary judgment, the court “draw[s]
all inferences and review[s] all evidence in the light most
favorable to the non-moving party.” Fort Lauderdale
Food Not Bombs v. City of Fort Lauderdale, 901 F.3d
1235, 1239 (11th Cir. 2018) (quotation marks omitted). In
this case, the parties agree on all of the facts; they
disagree only about the legal import of those facts.
Dase and Ms. Kleinatland’s parents, Walter and Anita
Dase,  jointly owned the property at issue in
this case, each with a right of survivorship. (Doc. 45-3;
see also Doc. 47-1 at 16–17). Mr. Dase and his
wife have lived on the property continuously since the
mid-2000s, while Ms. Kleinatland has lived elsewhere. (Doc.
47-1 at 17, 23, 36). In 2004, Walter and Anita Dase entered
into a lease sale contract with Mr. Dase. (Doc. 45-5). Mr.
Dase agreed to make monthly payments of $677.51 to his
parents until he had paid $63, 703.03, and his parents agreed
that once he had paid in full, “the rent paid under
this Lease shall be considered a payment for said property,
and [they] shall make and execute a warranty deed conveying
said property to [Mr. Dase].” (Id. at
Dase made each monthly payment directly to the mortgagee of
the property. (Doc. 47-1 at 30–31). While Mr. Dase was
making the promised payments, Anita Dase died, followed
several years later by Walter Dase. (Doc. 47-1 at
29–31). After Walter Dase died, Ms. Kleinatland
produced a handwritten document signed by “W Dase,
” which stated: “All possessions belonging to
myself or my passed wife Anita will be split and distributed
between Scott [Dase] and Rachel [Kleinatland]. These
possessions are at the farm, ” the farm being the
property at issue in this case. (Doc. 55-1).
Dase and Ms. Kleinatland did not open a probate estate for
either of their parents’ estates (see Doc.
47-1 at 34), but Mr. Dase continued to make mortgage payments
directly to the mortgagee. (Id. at 30, 32). He
completed the payments required under the sale lease contract
in 2012 and paid off the mortgage on the property in July
2018. (See Doc. 45 at 4 ¶ 10; Doc. 45-6; Doc.
45-7; Doc. 49 at 4 ¶ 10; Doc. 47-1 at 30–31, 67).
October 2017, the government obtained a default judgment
against Mr. Dase in the amount of $293, 114.93 for federal
employment taxes, federal unemployment taxes, and a federal
civil penalty, plus statutory fees and interest. (Doc. 45-2
at 3; see also United States v. Dase, No.
4:16-cv-01957-KOB, Doc. 13 (M.D. Ala. Sept. 27, 2017)). Mr.
Dase has not satisfied that judgment, although the parties
dispute whether he has made any payments toward the judgment.
(See Doc. 45-2 at 4). In March 2018, the government
filed this lawsuit against Mr. Dase and Ms. Kleinatland,
along with several other defendants who have been dismissed.
(Docs. 1, 18, 34).
Mr. Dase paid off the mortgage on the property, the
government filed an amended complaint, seeking an order that
Mr. Dase owns the property, that the government’s tax
liens be foreclosed on his interest in the property, that the
property be sold under 26 U.S.C. § 7403, and that the
proceeds of the sale be distributed to the government and
Defendants in accordance with the priority of their claims or
interests. (Doc. 21 at 4).