The opinion of the court was delivered by: Sue E. Myerscough, U.S. District Judge:
Tuesday, 02 October, 2012 05:09:09 PM
Clerk, U.S. District Court, ILCD
This matter comes before the Court on an Amended Renewed Motion to Strike Claim with Rule 37 Certification (d/e 26). Plaintiff, the United States of America, asks the Court to strike the claim of Claimant, Thedell Doss, for failure to comply with discovery requests. Plaintiff also requests permission to file a Motion for Default Judgment against Claimant. For the reasons that follow, the Court GRANTS Plaintiff's Amended Renewed Motion to Strike Claim with Rule 37 Certification. The Court also GRANTS Plaintiff leave to file a Motion for Default Judgment against Claimant.
On January 14, 2010, the United States filed a Verified Complaint for Forfeiture against Defendant, $19,000.00 United States Currency. Plaintiff sought to enforce the provisions of 21 U.S.C. § 881(a)(6) for forfeiture of the currency as money furnished or intended to be furnished in exchange for a controlled substance in violation of Title II of the Controlled Substances Act, 21 U.S.C. § 801, et seq., or as proceeds traceable to such an exchange.
Claimant filed his Claim of Interest in Seized Property on February 17, 2010, (d/e 7), and his Answer to the Complaint on March 9, 2010 (d/e 8). Claimant contends in both documents that he legitimately obtained the $19,000.00 U.S. Currency.
On March 9, 2010, this Court ordered the Parties to submit a proposed discovery plan in accordance with Rules 16(b) and 26(f) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure and Local Rules 26.2(3) and 16.2(E). On April 20, 2010, the Court entered a scheduling order calling for the parties to complete discovery by August 30, 2010.
Claimant's former attorney, Mr. Rodney H. Holmes, contacted Plaintiff and requested discovery on August 12, 2010. Plaintiff complied with that request. At the same time, Plaintiff sought Claimant's personal banking information. Subsequently, the Parties agreed to file a Joint Motion for Extension of Time to Complete Discovery and Extend Deadlines (d/e 11). The Court extended the discovery deadline to October 14, 2010.
On August 24, 2010, Plaintiff sent a letter requesting discovery materials. Thereafter, on September 1, 2010, Plaintiff sent Claimant a Request to Produce Documents.
Mr. Holmes emailed Plaintiff on September 12, 2010. He acknowledged receiving the Request for Production. Mr. Holmes also expressed doubt as to Claimant's whereabouts. He believed Claimant might be incarcerated and sought Plaintiff's help to locate Claimant. Plaintiff complied and forwarded Claimant's contact information to Mr. Holmes on September 21, 2010.
On November 15, 2010, Plaintiff filed a Motion to Strike Claim (d/e 13). Plaintiff asserted that Claimant had failed to produce the requested discovery documents before the discovery deadline lapsed.
The Court held a telephone conference with the Parties on January 3, 2011. Counsel for Claimant, Plaintiff, and the Court discussed the Motion to Strike Claim and Mr. Holmes' inability to comply with the discovery process due to his client's failure to respond. The Court cautioned Claimant's attorney. The Court stated that Claimant must continually provide current contact information to Mr. Holmes and the Court. Further, the Court warned that failure to comply could result in dismissal or striking of the claim with prejudice. Finally, the Court required Mr. Holmes to notify the Court in writing, by January 6, 2011, that Claimant had received the contents of the instant minute entry.
Mr. Holmes advised the Court on January 6, 2011, that he had sent a letter by certified mail to Claimant. The letter alerted Claimant to the discovery deadline. Mr. Holmes also noted to the Court that he mailed a letter to the ...