November 9, 2018
from the United States District Court for the Northern
District of Illinois, Eastern Division. No. 17 C 04405 - John
Robert Blakey, Judge.
Bauer, Brennan, and Scudder, Circuit Judges.
V. Raines ("Raines") and his wife, Lizzie Mae
Raines, purchased their home in 1975 as joint tenants and not
tenants in common. When Raines' wife died, he became the
sole owner of 18952 W. Oak Avenue, Mundelein, Lake County,
Illinois (the "Property"). Raines was the sole
owner of the Property at the time of his death in July
2009.Raines died intestate with six heirs.
2007, Raines filed federal income taxes for tax years 2000,
2001, 2003, and 2004. Based on those returns, the IRS
assessed taxes, penalties, and interest in the amounts of $7,
884.80; $24, 450.17; $64, 272.62; and $21, 080.78. These
taxes remained unpaid at the time of Raines' death. On
August 9, 2010, the United States recorded a notice of
federal tax lien (the "Notice") against Raines with
the Lake County Recorder of Deeds for taxes and penalties in
the amount of $115, 022.42. The Notice incorrectly identified
"Carrol V. Raines" as the debtor, omitting the
second "l" from his first name, and failed to
include a legal description or permanent index number for the
Property, but did correctly identify it by its address-18952
W. Oak Avenue, Mundelein, Lake County, Illinois.
November 2010, Raines' heirs conveyed their interest in
the Property to Chicago Title Land Trust Company
("Chicago Title") . Following its acquisition of
the Property, Chicago Title made improvements and capital
investments in the Property.
12, 2017, the Government instituted proceedings seeking to
foreclose the tax lien against the Property. The complaint
named Chicago Title, several other financial institutions,
and municipal entities. By November 2017, the parties agreed
to waive any discovery and filed cross-motions for summary
judgment, asking the court to rule on the enforceability of
the federal tax liens and whether the affidavit of William
Bond ("Bond") was admissible.
April 2, 2018, the district court granted the
Government's motion and denied Z Investment Properties,
LLC ("Z Investments") and Chicago Title's
(collectively, the "Appellants") motion. The
district court found that: the Appellants had adequate notice
of the tax lien because it conformed to the applicable
provisions of the Internal Revenue Code; and the Government
could enforce the tax lien which encumbered the Property. The
district court also found Bond's affidavit was partially
inadmissable and struck paragraphs 5-7, 10-12, 14, 20, and
21. Final Judgment was entered on April 9, 2018. For the
reasons stated below, we agree and affirm.
The District Court Properly Determined that the Affidavit of
William Bond Was Inadmissible Because it Consisted of
Undeclared Expert Testimony and Improper Legal
a title insurance executive who during his career has
conducted thousands of title searches and prepared thousands
of title reports, commitments, and insurance policies. He was
retained by the Appellants to provide expert testimony about
the system in place at the Lake County Recorder's office
and the discoverability of the Notice.
district court determined that Bond's affidavit was
inadmissible because it consisted of previously undeclared
expert testimony and improper legal conclusions. The court
found that Appellants failed to comply with Federal Rule of
Civil Procedure 26(a)(2); they neither provided an expert
report, disclosed Bond as an expert witness, nor even
disclosed him as a witness pursuant to Rule 26(a)(1).
court reviews a lower court's decision to exclude expert
testimony under an abuse of discretion standard. Karum
Holdings LLC v. Loweʹs Companies, Inc., 895 F.3d
944, 950 (7th Cir. 2018) (citing Musser v. Gentiva Health
Servs., 356 F.3d 751, 755 (7th Cir. 2004)). "A
court does not abuse its discretion unless … (1) the
record contains no evidence upon which the court could have
rationally based its decision; (2) the decision is based on
an erroneous conclusion of law; (3) the decision is based on
clearly erroneous factual ...