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LLC v. Franklin

United States District Court, District of Nevada

April 13, 2015

BWD PROPERTIES 2, LLC, et al., Plaintiffs,
v.
BOBBY LEN FRANKLIN, et al., Defendants.

ORDER

Robert C. Jones United States District Judge

This case arises from a dispute regarding the ownership of eighty acres of land located in Clark County, Nevada. Pending before the Court is Plaintiffs’ Motion to Expunge (ECF No. 160) recordings made by Defendants in the Clark County Recorder’s Office that cloud title to the land at issue. Plaintiffs also request that the Court sanction Defendant Bobby Len Franklin (“Franklin”) for his failure to comply with an Order previously entered by the Court.

I. FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

The facts of this case have been presented in multiple Orders, (see ECF Nos. 111, 144, 148), and the Court will only summarize them here. On August 18, 1988, Franklin filed application N-49548 under the Desert Land Entry Act (“DLE”) concerning eighty acres of land located near Laughlin, Nevada. In October 1988, the Bureau of Land Management (“BLM”) denied Franklin’s application because the property was appropriated by mining claims and thus unsuitable for disposition under the DLE. Franklin appealed the decision to the Interior Board of Land Appeals (“IBLA”), which reversed and remanded to the BLM for further factual findings.

On remand, the BLM again denied the application and informed Franklin of his right to appeal the denial to the IBLA within thirty days of his receipt of the decision. Franklin did not appeal the decision and instead filed an action against the United States in federal court. The action was dismissed for Franklin’s failure to exhaust administrative remedies. Franklin appealed that decision to the Ninth Circuit. The Court of Appeals affirmed the ruling. See Franklin v. United States, 46 F.3d 1140 (9th Cir. 1995) (unpublished).

On November 21, 1989, Defendant Bobby Dean Franklin filed application N-52292 under the DLE concerning land located in the same general area. In 1993, the BLM denied this application as well because the lands for which the application was filed were mineral in character. Bobby Dean Franklin was advised of his right to file an appeal of the BLM’s decision, but he did not do so. Instead, he filed an action against the United States in federal court and the action was dismissed for failure to exhaust administrative remedies. This decision was also affirmed by the Ninth Circuit. See Franklin v. United States, 46 F.3d 1141 (9th Cir. 1995).

In 2006, the United States granted to D.J. Laughlin (“Laughlin”) the title to three parcels of land located in Clark County, Nevada (“the Property”). The Property included the acreage upon which the Franklins had submitted their DLE applications. Laughlin then transferred his interest in all three parcels to the BWD Plaintiffs. Between 1999 and 2006, Defendants had recorded multiple documents against the Property in the Clark County Recorder’s Office. Plaintiffs brought this lawsuit against Defendants seeking to quiet title to the Property.

In 2008, Judge Brian E. Sandoval granted BWD’s motion for summary judgment and declared the following: (1) Defendants, and anyone claiming under or through them, had no right, title, or interest in or to the Property on the basis of DLE applications N-49548 and N-52292; (2) Plaintiffs were the 100% fee simple owners of the Property; and (3) all instruments, documents, and claims recorded by or on behalf of Defendants against the Property in the office of the Clark County Recorder were null and void. (Sept. 29, 2008 Order 8, ECF No. 111).

Judge Sandoval further entered a permanent injunction as follows:

Defendants, and anyone claiming title under or through them, are permanently enjoined from asserting, claiming, or setting up any right, title, or interest in or to the property described in patent 27-2006-0071, patent 27-2006-0070, and patent 27-2006-0069 under the DLE, applications N-49548 and N-52292, or on any other ground or basis.
Defendants, and anyone claiming under or through them, are enjoined from filing any instruments, documents, and claims in the office of the Clark County Recorder that would slander, interfere with, compromise, or cloud Plaintiffs’ title to the property.

(Id. at 8–9).

In December 2009, the Ninth Circuit affirmed this decision. (Ninth Cir. Op. 1–2, ECF No. 127). The Ninth Circuit stated that “the district court properly granted summary judgment on the claims made by BWD because BWD offered undisputed evidence that they owned the properties over which they sought to quiet title, and the Franklins failed to raise a triable issue of their own cognizable interest in these properties.” (Id. at 3). The Ninth Circuit further held that the “district court correctly determined that the various documents recorded by the Franklins were a cloud on the title of BWD’s property and ordered the documents expunged, and did not abuse its discretion when it granted a permanent injunction against the Franklins.” (Id. at 4).

In April 2012, Franklin through Daydream Land & Systems Development Company (“Daydream Land & Systems”) filed a “Notice of Action to Quiet Title” with the Clark County Recorder’s Office in violation of the Court’s September 2008 Order. (Mar. 7, 2013 Order 4, 6, ECF No. 144). Plaintiffs filed a motion to expunge the recording along with a request that Defendants be sanctioned for ignoring the Court’s Order. The Court granted the motion to expunge the recording, but it found that sanctions were not warranted. Although the Court declined to impose sanctions at the time, it explicitly warned Defendants “that if there [were] any future violations of the permanent injunction, this Court [would] sanction them appropriately through this Court’s inherent powers.” (Id. at 6). The ...


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