United States District Court, W.D. Louisiana, Lafayette Division
WHITEHURST MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
ELIZABETH ERNY FOOTE, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
the Court is a Motion for Default Judgment filed by
Plaintiff, Midwest Management ("Midwest")- Record
Document 18. Plaintiff seeksa default judgment against
Defendants Raphael Frank and Mary Labbe Frank. For the
reasons given below, Plaintiffs Motion For Default Judgment
is GRANTED IN PART and DENIED IN
Factual & Procedural Background
November 14, 2016, Plaintiff filed a Petition to Quiet Tax
Title in the 27th Judicial District Court in St.
Landry Parish, Louisiana. It alleges that, by virtue of a St.
Landry Parish Tax Sale Certificate, Midwest owns a 100%
interest in a property located in St. Landry Parish
("the Property"), bearing parcel number 0100026900
and described as follows:
3 LOTS 12 13 14 (48X98 EA), BLK F BERTRAND ARTIGUE SUB DIV
967524 (K-42-419) 1010707, being more fully described as:
Three certain lots or parcel of ground, together with all
building and improvements thereon, designated as LOTS 12, 13,
AND 14 OF BLOCK F OF BERTRAND-ARTIGUE SUBDIVISION to the City
of Opelousas, Louisiana as per Plat dated September 10, 1951
made by F. S. Roberts, C. E. which Plat is recorded in Plat
Book 3, page 110 of the records of the Clerk of Court, St.
Landry Parish, Louisiana. Being the same property acquired in
part by Judgment of Possession in the Succession of Lindsay
Albert dated April 24, 2003, recorded as Act No. 904625 in
Conveyance Book Q-39, Page 615, and in part by donation from
Evelina Myles Albert dated November 11, 2000, recorded as Act
No. 862941 in Donation Book 67, page 887, and having been
acquired by Cynthia Harris by Act of Donation from Helen
Albert Ventress dated June 24, 2004, recorded as Act No.
927181 in Conveyance Book M-40, page 215.
Document 1-2, p. 3-4. Plaintiff alleges that it acquired tax
title to the Property at a St. Landry Parish tax sale
conducted by the Sheriff and Ex-Officio Tax Collector, and
that the certificate of sale was recorded in the conveyance
records on June 4, 2013. Id. at 4; see also
Id. at 12-13.
explains that Defendants Raphael Frank and Mary Labbe Frank
("the Franks") were identified as the owners of the
Property pursuant to a cash sale recorded in the St. Landry
Parish conveyance records on August 10, 2006. Plaintiff claims
that prior to the tax sale, the Franks were notified of the
tax delinquency and impending sale by the St. Landry Parish
Sheriff's Office. 14 at 4, 28. It attaches a return
receipt signed by Mary Frank for an article sent to 476
Howard Road in Opelousas, Louisiana. The receipt is dated
April 6, and Plaintiff identifies the year as 2013.
Midwest sent letters to the Franks dated October 29, 2015,
and January 12, 2016. Id. at 29, 33. Among other
information, these letters explained that property taxes were
not paid on the Property for the 2012 year and, as a result,
tax sale title to the Property was sold to Midwest. They
explained that the Property could be redeemed within three
years from June 4, 2013, and provided the information for the
St. Landry Parish Tax Collector's Office. See 14 These
letters were sent to Raphael Frank by regular and certified
mail to three different addresses in Opelousas, Louisiana:
476 Howard Road, 432 Howard Road, and a Post Office Box.
Id. at 4-5. The letters were also sent to Mary Labbe
Frank via regular and certified mail to the two Howard Road
addresses in Opelousas. Id. at 5-6.
United States of America was identified as a party with an
interest in the Property pursuant to a Notice of Federal Tax
Lien against Raphael Frank filed in the mortgage records of
St. Landry Parish on July 12, 2010. See Id. at 41.
The United States acknowledges receipt of notice of the right
to redeem the tax sale. Record Document 6, p. 2.
filed this petition on November 14, 2016, seeking a judgment
recognizing that it is the owner of a 100% interest in the
Property and that the Franks, the Parish of St. Landry
("the Parish")/ "their successors, heirs, and/or
assigns have no right, title or claim" to the Property.
The United States removed the suit on December 19, 2016.
12, 2017, Plaintiff filed a Motion for Entry of Default
[Record Document 14], and on May 16, 2017, the Clerk filed an
Entry of Default against the Franks and the Parish [Record
Documents 15-17]. On June 15, 2017, Plaintiff then filed this
Motion for Default Judgment [Record Document 18]. The Court
held a telephone conference on November 30, 2017, to address
various issues with the pending motion. Issues included the
language contained in the proposed judgment, whether the
Parish was properly served, and whether the Parish was a
proper party to this suit. See Record Document 23. Since that
conference, Plaintiff and the United States have stipulated
to the dismissal of the Parish, see Record Document
24, and Plaintiff has submitted an updated proposed default
judgment [Record Document 25]. Plaintiff now only seeks
default judgment against the Franks. At no time have the
Franks participated in this action.