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Brown v. Tax Ease Lien Investments, LLC

United States District Court, W.D. Kentucky, Louisville Division

January 8, 2015

JAMES BROWN, et al.
v.
TAX EASE LIEN INVESTMENTS, LLC, et al

For James Brown, On Behalf of Themselves and All Others Similarly Situated, Theresa Cambron, On Behalf of Themselves and All Others Simarly Situated, Philip Leigh, On Behalf of Themselves and All Others Simarly Situated, Emil Walther, III, On Behalf of Themselves and All Others Similarly Situated, Plaintiffs: John H. Dwyer, Jr., LEAD ATTORNEY, The Zielke Law Firm, Louisville, KY.

For Tax Ease Lien Investments, LLC, Tax Ease Lien Investments 1, LLC, Blue Grass Abstract, LLC, Lien Data Services, LLC Phil Migicovsky, Tax Ease Lien Servicing, LLC, Defendants: Chadwick A. McTighe, Joseph Lee Hamilton, Marjorie Ann Farris, LEAD ATTORNEYS, Stites & Harbison, PLLC - Louisville, Louisville, KY.

For Hayden Craig & Grant, PLLC, now known as Craig Law Office, PLLC, Defendant: R. Eric Craig, LEAD ATTORNEY, Weber & Rose, PSC, Louisville, KY.

For Richard Eric Craig, Defendant: J. Andrew White, LEAD ATTORNEY, J. Andrew White & Associates, Louisville, KY; R. Eric Craig, LEAD ATTORNEY, Weber & Rose, PSC, Louisville, KY.

For Sherrow, Sutherland & Associates, PSC, Billy W. Sherrow, Defendants: Ryan A. Schwartz, LEAD ATTORNEY, Sherrow Sutherland & Associates, PSC, Lexington, KY.

For Rose Harper, Deddo Goldsmith, Defendants: John H. Dwyer, Jr., LEAD ATTORNEY, The Zielke Law Firm, Louisville, KY.

For Phillip Julian, Karyn Julian, Defendants: David W. Brangers, LEAD ATTORNEY, Louisville, KY; John H. Dwyer, Jr., LEAD ATTORNEY, The Zielke Law Firm, Louisville, KY.

For Jamos Fund I, LP, Defendant: Jerry N. Higgins, Terra L. Meek, LEAD ATTORNEYS, Law Office of Jerry N. Higgins, PLLC, Floyds Knobs, IN.

For Commonwealth of Kentucky, County of Jefferson, Defendant: Matthew J. Golden, Terri Ann Geraghty, William Patrick O'Brien, LEAD ATTORNEYS, Jefferson County Attorney, Louisville, KY.

For Internal Revenue Service, Defendant: David J. Hale, LEAD ATTORNEY U.S. Attorney Office - Louisville, Louisville, KY.

For Southern Tax Services, LLC, Defendant: Shannon Upton Johnson, Zachary C. Webster, LEAD ATTORNEY, Overly & Johnson, LLC, Lexington, KY.

For Vesta Holdings I, LLC, Defendant: John E. Ramsey, LEAD ATTORNEY, The Deer Firm, Atlanta, GA.

Page 599

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

John G. Heyburn II, Senior United States District Judge.

Few things in life are certain, but among those few are death and taxes. At its core, this case is about taxation. More specifically, this case concerns what should happen when homeowners fail to pay their property taxes, and the Commonwealth of Kentucky sells their delinquent accounts to third party collectors. Sadly, while this labyrinthine case wound its way through the courts, one of the parties passed away--implicating the other of life's certainties. What is less certain, however, is whether this case even belongs in federal court. This case is a procedural quagmire: The Court faces several motions, including a motion to remand that the Court now addresses. In part due to the exceptionally skilled advocacy from counsel for both sides, the Court cannot say with certainty that this case should be in federal court. Therefore, for the reasons that follow, the Court remands the entire proceeding to the Jefferson Circuit Court.

I.

This case's factual background is voluminous; its procedural history is muddled. To avoid confusion,[1] only the facts necessary to understand this decision are provided here.

In Kentucky, failing to timely pay property taxes results in a certificate of delinquency, which functions as a lien on the relevant property. The certificate of delinquency secures the amount of the unpaid taxes, interest, and penalties. See KRS 134.122(2), 134.125(1), 134.420. Of course, the automatic issuance of a ...


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