United States v. Barczyk, 081711 FED6, 10-1498

Docket Nº:10-1498
Opinion Judge:PER CURIAM.
Party Name:UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff - Appellee, v. DEBORAH A. BARCZYK, Defendant - Appellant.
Judge Panel:Before: GRIFFIN and WHITE, Circuit Judges; and WATSON, District Judge. HELENE N. WHITE, Circuit Judge (concurring).
Case Date:August 17, 2011
Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff - Appellee,


DEBORAH A. BARCZYK, Defendant - Appellant.

No. 10-1498

United States Court of Appeals, Sixth Circuit

August 17, 2011



Before: GRIFFIN and WHITE, Circuit Judges; and WATSON, District Judge.[*]


Deborah A. Barczyk ("Mrs. Barczyk") appeals from the district court's order allowing the United States to foreclose on its tax lien and sell real property jointly owned by Mrs. Barczyk and her tax-delinquent husband as tenants by the entirety. Mrs. Barczyk, who does not owe unpaid taxes to the United States, argues that her survivorship interest in the property should preclude the Government from selling it and, alternatively, that the district court erred in refusing to determine the actuarial value of her ownership interest and instead awarding her a fifty percent share.



Defendant-Appellant Mrs. Barczyk appeals the district court's grant of summary judgment in favor of the United States in this tax-lien foreclosure action. We adopt the district court's description of the factual background:

Since 1979, [Ronald S. Barczyk ("Mr. Barczyk") and Deborah A. Barczyk, a married couple, ] own a residence at 6091 Niles Drive, in Troy, Michigan ("the Niles Property"), as tenants by the entireties. The Niles Property is free and clear of debt, and, according to Defendants, worth approximately $200, 000.

From 1996 to 2006, inclusive, Mr. and Mrs. Barczyk filed individual federal tax returns under the status of "married filing separately." During these years, Mr. Barczyk failed to pay large amounts of federal income taxes. As a result, several tax liens were created in favor of the United States, which attached to all of Mr. Barczyk's property and property rights, including the Niles Property.

In March 2009, the Government brought this action to reduce Mr. Barczyk's tax debt to judgment (Count I), and foreclose the liens that arose by virtue of this debt (Count II). Specifically, the Government seeks to have the Niles Property foreclosed and sold, with proceeds distributed according to the parties' respective interests.

On September 21, 2009, this Court entered a default judgment against Mr. Barczyk, in the amount of $528, 771.55 plus statutory interest and accruals until paid . . . .

Mrs. Barczyk is not liable for the taxes at issue in this case. She was named as a defendant because of her interest in the Niles Property.

Mrs. Barczyk filed a motion for summary judgment seeking a determination that the United States "cannot legally order the sale of the Property, because such a sale would, in violation of law, depriv[e] her of her survivorship expectancy in the Property." In the alternative, if the court determined that the Niles Property could be foreclosed and sold, she sought a determination that instead of splitting the proceeds of the sale equally (50/50) between herself and the United States, she should "receive a larger percentage of the net proceeds based upon actuarial [evidence] . . . that she is likely to live longer than her husband, and that her interest in the net proceeds from the sale of the property is more than 50%." The United States filed a cross-motion for summary judgment seeking an order allowing it to "foreclose the federal tax liens that have attached the Niles Drive Property, order the judicial sale of the property, and order the distribution, after the costs of sale, of one-half of the sale proceeds to the United States and one-half of the sale proceeds to Mrs. Barczyk."

The district court granted the United States's motion for summary judgment, denied Mrs. Barczyk's motion, and ordered that the United States "is authorized to foreclose on its tax liens against defendant Ronald Barczyk in the amount set forth above pursuant to a judicial sale of the property commonly known as 6091 Niles Drive, Troy, Michigan 48089, and that defendant Deborah Barczyk is entitled to half of the proceeds from any such judicial sale." Mrs. Barczyk filed a Rule 59(e) motion to alter or amend the judgment, which the district court denied, and then timely appealed.



This Court reviews a district court's summary judgment determination de novo. La Quinta Corp. v. Heartland Props. LLC, 603 F.3d 327, 335 (6th Cir. 2010). Summary judgment is appropriate if, viewing the evidence in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party, "the movant shows that there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law." Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a); see also La Quinta Corp., 603 F.3d at 335. We "review cross motions for summary judgment under this standard as well, evaluating each motion on its own merits." La Quinta Corp., 603 F.3d at 335.


Mrs. Barczyk first argues that the Government cannot foreclose and sell the Niles Property because doing so would destroy the survivorship interest guaranteed by her tenancy by the entirety.

When a person fails to pay outstanding taxes after a demand, the Internal Revenue Code empowers the Government...

To continue reading