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United States v. Mooney

United States District Court, D. Minnesota

February 6, 2019

United States of America, Plaintiff,
v.
William J. Mooney, Joni T. Mooney, and Harbor Holdings, Mid-Atlantic Trustees and Administrators, Defendants.

          Michael R. Pahl, for Plaintiff.

          William J. Mooney and Joni T. Mooney, pro se.

          AMENDED MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER ADOPTING REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION OF MAGISTRATE JUDGE

          SUSAN RICHARD NELSON, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         This matter comes before the Court on the Objection (“Objection”) [Doc. No. 167] of Defendants William J. Mooney and Joni T. Mooney (collectively “the Mooneys”) to Magistrate Judge Leo I. Brisbois's Report and Recommendation dated September 28, 2018 (“R&R of September 28, 2018”) [Doc. No. 166]. In the R&R, Magistrate Judge Brisbois recommended that the Mooneys' Motion to Dismiss and Motion to Vacate Judgment [Doc. No. 157] be denied. For the reasons set forth below, and after a de novo review, this Court overrules the Mooneys' Objection, adopts the R&R in its entirety, and denies the Mooneys' Motion to Dismiss and Motion to Vacate Judgment.

         I. Background

         The facts and lengthy procedural history of this case have been thoroughly and accurately stated in several Orders of this Court and of the magistrate judge. (See, e.g., Order of Nov. 7, 2016 [Doc. No. 36]; Order Deny. Defs.' Mot. to Dismiss [Doc. No. 78].) Therefore, this Court, like the magistrate judge, recites the facts here only to the extent necessary to contextualize and rule on the Mooneys' Objection.

         On June 13, 2018, the Mooneys filed a Motion to Dismiss and Motion to Vacate Judgment. (Defs.' Mot. to Dismiss and Mot. to Vacate.) In it, the Mooneys asked this Court to set aside the judgment that this Court entered against them on May 15, 2018. (Order Grant. Pl.'s Mot. for Summ. J. [Doc. No. 150].) However, rather than filing a substantive pleading, the Mooneys again filed the same “meaningless and routinely and properly rejected tax protestor documents” advancing the same unmeritorious arguments that this Court had rejected in its prior Orders. (R&R of Sept. 28, 2018 at 3.)

         After reviewing the Mooneys' claims, the magistrate judge first found that “[a]lthough Defendants [did] not cite to any Federal Rule of Civil Procedure upon which they base their []post-judgment Motion, construing their pro se pleading liberally, Defendants appear[ed] to be bringing their present Motion pursuant to Rule 60(b).” (Id. at 2.) However, the magistrate judge noted that the Mooneys did not demonstrate any circumstances which would warrant relief under Rule 60(b). (Id. at 3.) Specifically, the magistrate judge reasoned that the Mooneys made “no claim that there has been any mistake, inadvertence, surprise, or exclusable neglect on the part of any party in the present case . . . nor [did they] proffer[] any newly discovered evidence in support of their []Motion.” (Id.)

         Moreover, the magistrate judge found that the Mooneys' arguments “merely repeat[ed] previous failed arguments that they have already presented to the Court.” (Id.) The magistrate judge concluded that it was “an unassailable fact that the Court has subject matter jurisdiction over the present case, ” that the contention that the United States of America's (“Plaintiff's”) counsel's appearance was improper due to the distinction between the United States and the United States of America was “a meritless assertion[, ]” and that the Mooneys' arguments regarding personal jurisdiction due to the claim that the Mooneys are not “citizens of the United States” had been “squarely and repeatedly rejected.” (Id. at 3-4.) In light of these conclusions, the magistrate judge found that both of the Mooneys' motions should be denied. (Id. at 5.)

         On October 12, 2018, the Mooneys filed their Objection to the R&R. As more thoroughly discussed below, the Mooneys regrettably continue to assert the same meritless tax protestor arguments that this Court and the magistrate judge have thoroughly addressed and rejected. Because this Court fully agrees with the magistrate judge's R&R, this Court overrules the Mooneys' Objection and adopts the R&R in its entirety.

         II. Discussion

         A. Standard of Review

         Upon issuance of an R&R, a party may “serve and file specific written objections to the proposed findings and recommendations.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 72(b)(2). “The objections should specify the portion of the magistrate judge's [R&R] to which objections are made and provide a basis for those objections.” Mayer v. Walvatne, No. 07-cv-1958 (JRT/RLE), 2008 WL 4527774, at *2 (D. Minn. Sept. 28, 2008). Objections which are not specific but merely parrot arguments already presented to and considered by the magistrate judge are not entitled to de novo review. Dunnigan v. Fed. Home Loan Mortg. Corp., No. 15-cv-2626 (SRN/JSM), 2017 WL 825200, at *3 (D. Minn. Mar. 2, 2017) (citing Mashak v. Minnesota, No. 11-cv-473 (JRT/JSM), 2012 WL 928251, at *2 (D. Minn. Mar. 19, 2012)). Furthermore, when presenting arguments to a magistrate judge, parties must put forth “not only their ‘best shot' but all of their shots.” Ridenour v. Boehringer Ingelheim Pharm., Inc., 679 F.3d 1062, 1067 (8th Cir. 2012) (quotations and citations omitted). Thus, a party cannot, in his objections to an R&R, raise arguments that were not clearly presented to the magistrate judge. Hammann v. 1-800 Ideas.com, Inc., 455 F.Supp.2d 942, 947-48 (D. Minn. 2006). Still, this Court reviews de novo any portion of the magistrate judge's R&R to which specific objections are made, and “may accept, reject, or modify, in whole or in part, the findings or recommendations” contained in that R&R. 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(C); see also Fed. R. Civ. P. 72(b); D. Minn. LR 72.2(b)(3).

         B. ...


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