United States District Court, N.D. Illinois, Eastern Division
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
ROBERT BLAKEY, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
United States sued to enforce federal tax liens that it
claims attach to a parcel of real property in Mundelein,
Illinois. The collective defendants represent private and
government entities with interests in the property.
Defendants Z Investment Properties, LLC, and Chicago Title
Land Trust Company (Defendants) moved for summary judgment
, and Plaintiff cross-filed for summary judgment .
For the reasons explained below, this Court denies
Defendants' motion and grants Plaintiff's motion.
parties agree on nearly all the facts of this case. From 2000
to 2004, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) assessed federal
income taxes against Carroll V. Raines. PSOF ¶ 5;
[30-2]. For each of those years, a delegate of the
Secretary of the Treasury assessed various sums against
Raines for unpaid federal income taxes, penalties, and
interest. PSOF ¶ 5. In July 2007, a delegate of the
Secretary notified Raines of those assessments and demanded
payment for the balance due. Id. ¶ 6. Raines
never paid his federal income tax liabilities. Id.
time of the July 2007 tax assessment, Raines held an interest
in the property at issue in this case (the Property), located
at 18952 W. Oak Avenue, Mundelein, Lake County, Illinois.
PSOF ¶¶ 1, 11. Raines owned the Property with his
wife. Id. ¶ 10. Raines died in July 2009. DSOF
¶ 2. Because his wife predeceased him, Raines was the
sole owner of the Property at the time of his death. PSOF
August 2010, the IRS filed a Notice of Federal Tax Lien for
Raines' federal income tax liabilities with the Lake
County Recorder of Deeds. Id. ¶ 14. The IRS
incorrectly filed the notice in the name of “Carrol V.
Raines, ” rather than “Carroll V. Raines.”
Id. ¶ 14; DSOF ¶ 3. The notice indicated
that the IRS had assessed taxes and penalties against Raines
in the amount of $115, 022.42, which remained unpaid. [16-1]
at 8. As a result, liens “in favor of the United
States” attached to “all property and rights to
property belonging to this taxpayer” for the amount
owed. Id. The notice identified Raines'
residence as the Property by listing its street address.
Id. It did not contain any further description of
the Property or a permanent index number. Id.; DSOF
November 2010, Keith Raines-Carroll's son-recorded an
Affidavit of Heirship with the Lake County Recorder, stating
that Carroll Raines died intestate and left six heirs,
including Keith. See PSOF ¶ 15; [16-1] at 5.
That month, all six heirs conveyed their interest in the
Property to Defendant Chicago Title Land Trust Company by
quitclaim deeds in trust. PSOF ¶¶ 16-21.
Lake County Recorder's website allows anyone to search
its land records through an online database. Id.
¶ 22. Members of the public can conduct unlimited
searches for a fee of $5.00 per day. Id.; see
also Lake County, Illinois Recorder of Deeds, Land
(last visited Mar. 12, 2018). Users can search the
Recorder's database in a number of ways: by a
person's exact first and/or last name; by a first and/or
last name beginning with certain letters (the “Begins
With” search function); or by first and/or last names
that sound similar to the search term (the “Sounds
Like” search function). PSOF ¶ 23; [30-1] ¶
search of the Recorder's database for the exact first and
last name “Carroll Raines” (the correct spelling)
shows judgments against Raines that note his aliases, including
“C V Raines” and “Carol Raines.”
See [30-1] ¶ 6; [30-5] at 7; PSOF ¶ 24.
That search does not, however, display the federal tax liens.
See [30-5]. A search of the database for all last
names beginning with “Raines” and first names
beginning with “C” reveals the federal tax liens,
despite the misspelling of Raines' first name. PSOF
¶ 25. A “Sounds Like” search for all last
names like Raines and all first names like Carroll also turns
up the federal tax liens. Id. ¶ 26. Finally, a
title search performed by the Chicago Title Insurance Company
on behalf of the IRS revealed the Notice of Federal Tax Lien.
See [37-3] at 1, 3; PSAF ¶ 8.
sued to enforce the federal tax liens on the Property in June
2017. . Defendants seek to block enforcement and moved for
summary judgment in August 2017, amending their brief in
September. [16, 25]. The remaining named defendants (PNC
Bank; Lake County, Illinois; and the Village of Mundelein)
entered into a stipulation with Plaintiff in November 2017 on
the priority of their liens relative to the federal tax
liens. . That same month, Plaintiff moved for summary
judgment on the sole remaining issue of the enforceability of
the federal tax liens. See  at 3; . This
opinion addresses the parties' pending motions for
summary judgment, and one evidentiary dispute.
their response to Plaintiff's motion, Defendants
submitted a signed declaration from William Bond, a title
insurance executive. See [35-1]. In his declaration,
Bond offers sworn statements describing a title search that
he conducted on the Property; the type of index maintained by
the Lake County Recorder of Deeds; and his opinions as to
whether the federal tax liens against Raines are within the
chain of title, whether “a reasonable and
diligent” search would find the liens, and what methods
an “experienced and capable title searcher” would
use to conduct that search. See, e.g., Id.
¶¶ 2, 4-5, 11, 14. Plaintiff objects to Bond's
declaration in full as undisclosed expert testimony and in
part as improper legal conclusions.  at 4, 6.
extent that Bond's statements purport to offer expert
opinions, this Court strikes those paragraphs. Defendants
never disclosed an expert witness or offered an expert
report, as required by Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 26(a);
in fact, Defendants never disclosed Bond as a witness at all.
See  at 5;  at 3, 4; . Under Rule
37(c)(1), “exclusion of non-disclosed evidence is
automatic and mandatory unless non-disclosure was justified
or harmless.” Tribble v. Evangelides, 670 F.3d