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Hanzl v. Collier

United States District Court, N.D. Iowa, Western Division

August 18, 2014

MARIANNE HANZL, Plaintiff,
v.
ROBERT L. COLLIER AND GERTRUD M. COLLIER, Defendants.

ORDER ON REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION

DONALD E. O'BRIEN, Senior District Judge.

Before the Court and on file at Docket No. 84 is the Report and Recommendation ("R&R") issued by Magistrate Judge Leonard T. Strand concerning entry of final judgment in the above captioned case.

I. BACKGROUND

The Court has previously detailed the facts of this case in the Magistrate's prior R&R, Docket No. 42, the Court's prior Order Accepting the Magistrate's R&R, Docket No. 52, and another prior R&R, Docket No. 74. In short, Ms. Hanzl, a German national, made the ill fated decision to befriend the Colliers. Ms. Hanzl, residing in Germany, used the Colliers as her agents to sell a property she owned in Arizona. The Colliers sold Ms. Hanzl's property but did not remit the money to Ms. Hanzl. Ms. Hanzl eventually brought the present suit against the Colliers to recover the value of the property. In 2012, the parties held a settlement conference with then Magistrate Zoss. The parties reached a tentative agreement after the settlement conference, and the Court stayed any further proceedings.

However, several months later, the Colliers had not acted on the agreement and Ms. Hanzl was forced to file a Motion to Enforce Settlement. Magistrate Strand initially considered that Motion and concluded that Ms. Hanzl was entitled to $262, 500. Because the Colliers had not paid that amount, the Magistrate concluded Ms. Hanzl was entitled to sell a property in Sioux City that the Colliers had used as security for the prior agreement. All told, the Magistrate found that Ms. Hanzl was entitled to $262, 500. However, the Magistrate found that Ms. Hanzl was not entitled to an award of attorneys fees under Iowa law. Finally, the Magistrate found that:

If the net sale proceeds [of the Colliers' property] are less than $262, 500, judgment will be entered against both defendants, jointly and severally, for the amount of the deficiency, unless the court adjusts the amount of the deficiency based on any objections the Colliers file with regard to the sale of the property.

Docket No. 52, p. 12-13.

Ms. Hanzl subsequently sold the Colliers' property for a gross sum of $275, 000. However, Ms. Hanzl reported that she had to pay sale related expenses totaling $51, 431.62. Accordingly, after expenses, she recovered a net total of $223, 568.38 from the sale of the Colliers' property. Accordingly, Ms. Hanzl concluded that she was entitled to a deficiency judgment of $38, 931.62 against the Colliers. In a prior Report and Recommendation, dated January 31, 2014, Magistrate recommended entering:

an order granting plaintiff's motion (Doc. No. 58) for entry of a preliminary deficiency judgment by (a) finding that the defendants owe $23, 291.42 to the plaintiff pursuant to his prior order (Doc. No. 52) enforcing the parties' settlement agreement, but (b) deferring the entry of final judgment until a determination is made as to whether that amount should be adjusted to reflect any income tax liability that may accrue to plaintiff due to her sale of the West Street Property.

Docket No. 74, p. 15-16. The Court adopted that R&R in Docket No. 75. As stated above, the Magistrate's prior R&R did not reflect adjustments based on potential income tax liability. On June 16, 2014, the Plaintiff filed a Motion for Final Deficiency Judgment. Docket No. 82. On July 24, 2014, Magistrate Strand entered a new R&R regarding Docket No. 82.

In that R&R Magistrate Strand stated:

[in the prior R&R I made] a preliminary finding was made that Hanzl was entitled to judgment against the Colliers in the amount of $23, 291.42. However, the entry of final judgment was deferred pending possible adjustments based on an income tax issue. Doc. No. 75 at 8. Now, based on the additional information provided by Hanzl and the lack of any objection by the Colliers, I find that Hanzl's request reflects the appropriate final resolution of this case. As such, I RESPECTFULLY RECOMMEND that Judge O'Brien enter an order directing the Clerk to enter final judgment in favor of Hanzl, and against the Colliers, in the amount of $25, 266.42.

Docket No. 84, p. 1. Neither party has object to Magistrate ...


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