United States v. 3 Parcels of Land in Woodbury Co., Iowa, Civ. No. 1185.

CourtUnited States District Courts. 8th Circuit. Northern District of Iowa
Writing for the CourtRichard Rhinehart, Sioux City, Iowa, for defendant, Woodbury County, Iowa
Citation198 F. Supp. 529
PartiesUNITED STATES of America, Plaintiff, v. 3 PARCELS OF LAND IN WOODBURY COUNTY, IOWA et al., Defendants.
Decision Date24 October 1961
Docket NumberCiv. No. 1185.

198 F. Supp. 529

UNITED STATES of America, Plaintiff,
v.
3 PARCELS OF LAND IN WOODBURY COUNTY, IOWA et al., Defendants.

Civ. No. 1185.

United States District Court N. D. Iowa, W. D.

October 24, 1961.


198 F. Supp. 530

F. E. Van Alstine, U. S. Dist. Atty., and William R. Crary, Asst. U. S. Dist. Atty., Sioux City, Iowa, for the United States.

Richard Rhinehart, Sioux City, Iowa, for defendant, Woodbury County, Iowa.

John S. Sears and John B. Pizey, Sioux City, Iowa, for defendants, G. L. Satterlee, Vletta Satterlee, Joe Mosow and Juanita Mosow.

GRAVEN, District Judge (by assignment).

This action involved the condemnation by the United States of certain parcels of land in Woodbury County, Iowa. A controversy has arisen as to the status of the 1960 real estate taxes levied upon certain of those parcels.

On July 7, 1960, the United States filed a complaint initiating the present proceeding for the condemnation of three parcels of land located in Woodbury County, Iowa. On November 28, 1960, pursuant to Section 258a of Title 40 U.S.C.A., a "declaration of taking" was filed in that cause which declared that said lands were thereby taken for the use of the United States. At the time of the filing of said declaration, the United States deposited in the registry of this Court the amount of the estimated just compensation for the taking of said lands. There is no controversy as to the amount of compensation. On July 28, 1961, a motion was filed by G. L. Satterlee, Vletta Satterlee, Joe Mosow and Juanita Mosow, the former owners of one of the three parcels, parcel number three, for a distribution of estimated just compensation. Prior to a hearing on said motion, Woodbury County, which has at all times since the commencement of the condemnation proceeding been a party thereto, filed an answer to the declaration of taking alleging that the 1960 real estate taxes, in the amount of $5,881, were a lien on parcel number three when title to that tract was acquired by the United States. In its answer, Woodbury County urged that such lien is now transferred to the fund in the registry of this Court. In addition, Woodbury County makes claim for $1,396.58, the amount of the unpaid 1960 real estate taxes on parcel number one. As to such parcel, judgment was entered by this Court on January 26, 1961, fixing the amount of just compensation and ordering the distribution of said compensation to the former owner of said parcel. No objection was made at that time by Woodbury County and such distribution of compensation was accordingly made. It is the view of the Court that if there is any redress or remedy yet available to Woodbury County in connection with the unpaid taxes on parcel number one, such redress or remedy cannot be granted in connection with the present determination which arises solely upon a motion for distribution of the compensation for parcel number three. There is no controversy as to parcel number two.

The amount of the estimated just compensation deposited with the Court for parcel number three was $105,000. The Court has previously ordered that $97,000 of this fund be distributed and that $8,000 be retained pending the determination of the present claim for real estate taxes.

It is conceded that after the title to the tract in question vested in the United States through condemnation, a lien for real estate taxes could not be enforced against the tract itself. This is true not only because of the Iowa statutes (Secs. 1.4, 427.1, Code of Iowa 1958, I.C.A.) but also because of the theory of dual sovereignty which prevents the states from taxing the property of the United States. United States v. 150.29 Acres of Land, 7 Cir., 1943, 135 F.2d 878, 880. However, the condemnation award now stands in the place of the land and the rights of the taxing authority may be treated as though transferred to the award. Collector of Revenue Within and for the City of St. Louis, Mo. v. Ford Motor Co., 8 Cir., 1946, 158 F.2d 354,

198 F. Supp. 531
355; United States v. 25.936 Acres of Land, 3 Cir., 1946, 153 F.2d 277, 279; United States v. 909.30 Acres of Land, D.C.1953, 114 F.Supp. 756, 759. In Collector of Revenue Within and for the City of St. Louis, Mo. v. Ford Motor Co., supra, the Court of Appeals for this circuit stated (158 F.2d at page 355)
"When the United States appropriated the land in question under the power of eminent domain, the lien for taxes could not thereafter be specifically enforced against the property taken, but the effect of the condemnation proceeding was to transfer the lien from the land to the award in the registry of the court."

In United States v. 25.936 Acres of Land, supra, the Court stated (153 F.2d at page 279):

"* * * It is settled that when land in which various persons have separate interests or estates is taken by the United States for public use, the amount of compensation to be paid must be determined as if the property was in a single ownership and without reference to conflicting claims or liens. * * * The compensation paid is for the land itself and the value of the separate interests cannot exceed the worth of the whole. * * * Taxes levied and assessed against real estate do not increase the land's value. * * Though tax liens or other encumbrances may amount to more than the value of the property the United States can still acquire the property in fee simple by paying just compensation. This is true whether the amount paid is sufficient to discharge all of the encumbrances or not. * * *"

Specific statutory authorization is given to the federal courts to direct that taxes are to be paid from the funds deposited with such courts as compensation for property condemned by the United States. Section 258a of Title 40 U.S.C.A., provides, in part, as follows:

"The court shall have power to make such orders in respect of encumbrances, liens, rents, taxes, assessments, insurance, and other charges, if any, as shall be just and equitable."

In construing this statute, the Court of Appeals for this circuit, in Collector of Revenue Within and for the City of St. Louis, Mo. v. Ford Motor Co., supra, held that local law must be consulted to determine questions of tax liability such as when a lien attaches.

It would seem that the status of taxation at the time of the condemnation by the United States, i. e., whether the condemnation was before or after the taxes have become a lien under the local law, is controlling in determining whether the taxes are payable out of the award. Valid existing tax liens must be satisfied from the award. United States v. 25.936 Acres of Land, 3 Cir., 1946, 153 F.2d 277, 279; United States v. Certain Parcels of Land in Philadelphia, Pa., 3 Cir., 1942, 130 F.2d 782, 783; Cobo v. United States, 6 Cir., 1938, 94 F.2d 351, 352. Conversely, it has been held that real estate taxes which have not become a lien under local law before title vests in the United States via condemnation are not to be paid from the award. People of Puerto Rico v. United States, 1 Cir., 1942, 131 F.2d 151, 152; United States v. Certain Lands in Borough of Brooklyn, D.C.1941, 41 F.Supp. 51, 53. In the former case the Court stated (131 F.2d at pages 151-152):

"By force of the statute, 40 U.S. C.A. § 258a, the money deposited in court by the United States Government at the time it takes title under condemnation proceedings stands in place of the land which has been taken and from it the claims of lienholders may be satisfied. This applies to tax liens as well as to liens of other kinds but only to existing liens, not to potential ones. City of St. Louis v. Dyer, 8 Cir., 56 F.2d 842; Drake v. City of St. Paul, 8 Cir., 65 F.2d 119. The determinative
198 F. Supp. 532
question in the case at bar, then, is whether or not the People of Puerto Rico had an existing, not just a potential, lien for taxes at the time when the land in question was taken."

In the latter case (41 F.Supp. at page 53), it is noted that in a case involving the payment of tax liens out of the amount paid into court by the United States as just compensation for a parcel of land condemned, the United States has no direct interest in the matter and is regarded as having somewhat the status of an amicus curiae. That would seem to be the situation of the United States in the present case.

It is the date upon which title passes to the United States which fixes the exempt status of the property. Weber v. Wells, 9 Cir., 1946, 154 F.2d 1004; South Carolina Public Service Authority v. 11,754.8 Acres of Land, 4 Cir., 1941, 123 F.2d 738, 741; United States v. 909.30 Acres of Land, D.C.1953, 114 F. Supp. 756, 758. This is to be determined by federal law and under the provisions of Section 258a this is the time at which the declaration of taking is filed and the estimated just compensation deposited with the court. Travis v. United States, Ct.Cl.1961, 287 F.2d 916, 919, certiorari denied 82 S.Ct. 42; United States v. 150.29 Acres of Land, 7 Cir., 1943, 135 F.2d 878, 880. In the present case this date was November 28, 1960. Thus, it must be determined whether, under the Iowa law, there was an existing lien on the parcel in question for 1960 real estate taxes on that date.

In Iowa the taxing process begins with the assessment of the property to be taxed by the county assessor as provided in Chapter 441, Code of Iowa 1958, I.C.A. This assessment is completed prior to May 1st of each year and the assessment rolls delivered to the county board of review. Section 441.9, subd. 7, Code of Iowa 1958, I.C.A. The board of review meets the first Monday of May of each year and, between that time and June 1st, it may reevaluate and reassess certain property. Chapter 442, Code of Iowa 1958, I.C.A. Upon determination of the assessments, the county auditor forwards an abstract of the results to the State Tax Commission. The Commission then equalizes assessments prior to the third Monday in August. The county auditor is furnished with the results of...

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5 practice notes
  • Luke's Estate, In re, No. 54086
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Iowa
    • 9 Febrero 1971
    ...vendor and vendee is not here involved. See The Code 1966, Section 445.30; United States v. 3 Parcels of Land in Woodbury Co., Iowa, 198 F.Supp. 529, 532--533 (N.D.Iowa As in the case now before us, Gates v. Wirth, 181 Iowa 19, 163 N.W. 215, deals with a dispute between a life tenant and re......
  • United States v. State of Michigan, Civ. A. No. 36447.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 6th Circuit. United States District Court (Western District Michigan)
    • 20 Julio 1972
    ...to the issue before us, are not analagous. As pointed out by the Court in United States v. 3 Parcels of Land in Woodbury Co., Iowa, 198 F.Supp. 529 (N.D.Iowa "It would seem that another distinction should be noted between the conventional vendor-purchaser situation and a taking by condemnat......
  • City of Southwest Fargo Urban Renewal Agency v. Lenthe, Nos. 8370--8372
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of North Dakota
    • 2 Marzo 1967
    ...order. Included among the cases relied on by the trial court is that of United States v. 3 Parcels of Land in Woodbury Co., Iowa, 198 F.Supp. 529 (N.D.Iowa 1961). In that case Judge Graven In the conventional vendor-purchaser situation, it makes no difference to the Page 377 taxing authorit......
  • United States v. 94 ACRES OF LAND, ETC., HYDE PARK, NY, No. 64 Civ. 3388.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 2nd Circuit. United States District Courts. 2nd Circuit. Southern District of New York
    • 8 Mayo 1969
    ...of Land In Philadelphia, 130 F. 2d 782 (3 Cir. 1942); United States v. 3 Parcels of Land in Woodbury Co. Iowa, D.C.N.D.Iowa, W.D., 198 F.Supp. 529 The United States says that a condemnee ought not to receive the unearned portion of the taxes as part of the award because he can get it back f......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
5 cases
  • Luke's Estate, In re, No. 54086
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Iowa
    • 9 Febrero 1971
    ...vendor and vendee is not here involved. See The Code 1966, Section 445.30; United States v. 3 Parcels of Land in Woodbury Co., Iowa, 198 F.Supp. 529, 532--533 (N.D.Iowa As in the case now before us, Gates v. Wirth, 181 Iowa 19, 163 N.W. 215, deals with a dispute between a life tenant and re......
  • United States v. State of Michigan, Civ. A. No. 36447.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 6th Circuit. United States District Court (Western District Michigan)
    • 20 Julio 1972
    ...to the issue before us, are not analagous. As pointed out by the Court in United States v. 3 Parcels of Land in Woodbury Co., Iowa, 198 F.Supp. 529 (N.D.Iowa "It would seem that another distinction should be noted between the conventional vendor-purchaser situation and a taking by condemnat......
  • City of Southwest Fargo Urban Renewal Agency v. Lenthe, Nos. 8370--8372
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of North Dakota
    • 2 Marzo 1967
    ...order. Included among the cases relied on by the trial court is that of United States v. 3 Parcels of Land in Woodbury Co., Iowa, 198 F.Supp. 529 (N.D.Iowa 1961). In that case Judge Graven In the conventional vendor-purchaser situation, it makes no difference to the Page 377 taxing authorit......
  • United States v. 94 ACRES OF LAND, ETC., HYDE PARK, NY, No. 64 Civ. 3388.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 2nd Circuit. United States District Courts. 2nd Circuit. Southern District of New York
    • 8 Mayo 1969
    ...of Land In Philadelphia, 130 F. 2d 782 (3 Cir. 1942); United States v. 3 Parcels of Land in Woodbury Co. Iowa, D.C.N.D.Iowa, W.D., 198 F.Supp. 529 The United States says that a condemnee ought not to receive the unearned portion of the taxes as part of the award because he can get it back f......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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