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Monday, August 10, 2015

Ind. Decisions - 7th Circuit decides one Indiana case today

In USA v. Dennis Williams and Ind. Dept. Rev. and Clark Co., Ind.(SD Ind., Young), a 5-page opinion, Judge Easterbrook writes:

The first question in this appeal, as in HSBC Bank USA, N.A. v. Townsend, No. 13-­1017 (7th Cir. July 16, 2015), is whether an order of foreclosure is a “final decision” for the purpose of appellate jurisdiction. We deferred consideration of this appeal until HSBC Bank had been issued. HSBC Bank holds that a mortgage foreclosure governed by Illinois law is not final, and thus not appealable under 28 U.S.C. §1291 or Fed. R. Civ. P. 54(b), because the amount of a deficiency judgment (if any) depends on the reasonableness of the price realized at the sale, and the va lidity of the sale itself is contestable under an open‑ended state standard calling on the judge to determine whether the outcome is equitable. Moreover, HSBC Bank observes, Illi nois provides debtors with multiple opportunities to redeem before a transfer takes effect.

Our case is governed by federal rather than state law. * * *

On the merits, the appeal is feeble. * * *

Leslie maintains, however, that selling the parcel to col lect Dennis’s federal taxes impermissibly impinges on her property interest. The Supreme Court held in United States v. Rodgers, 461 U.S. 677 (1983), that a district court is entitled to order an entire parcel sold even though an innocent person may have an ownership interest. Before doing this, Rodgers states, the court must consider all equitable arguments the innocent owner offers. 461 U.S. at 709–11. The district judge did just that, observing that Leslie’s interest, saddled by three tax liens, probably would be worth less than the amount she is likely to receive after a sale. The judge added that neither Dennis nor Leslie lives on the parcel, so the sale will not disrupt their household. That decision is sensible and certainly not an abuse of discretion. AFFIRMED

Posted by Marcia Oddi on August 10, 2015 11:53 AM
Posted to Ind. (7th Cir.) Decisions