United States District Court, N.D. Mississippi, Aberdeen Division
MICHAEL P. MILLS, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
this day the Motion for Summary Judgment 
brought by the United States in response to the Defendant,
John Davis's Motion to Return Property ,
and the Court having reviewed the pleadings, relevant
authorities and evidence, is now prepared to rule.
and Procedural History
action before this Court began as a criminal prosecution
whereby John Davis's home had a search warrant executed
upon it on October 29th, 2014. A lump sum of cash
money totaling $12, 020.00 was seized. The search warrant was
executed by law enforcement officers of the U.S. Drug
Enforcement Administration (DEA), the Mississippi Bureau of
Narcotics (MBN), and the Attala County, Mississippi
Sheriff's Office. Davis was present when the warrant was
executed and the property was seized.
basis for the initiation of forfeiture proceedings was that
the currency was believed to be either the proceeds of the
exchange of illegal drugs, or property that was used or
intended to be used to facilitate the exchange of illegal
drugs and was, therefore, subject to forfeiture to the United
States pursuant to 21 U.S.C. § 881(a)(6)1. The currency
at issue was forfeited to the United States on or about March
19, 2015, via a Declaration of Forfeiture.
Davis filed a pro se “Motion to Return Property”
on May 31, 2016. The motion claims as its central argument
that Davis was not given any notice regarding the forfeiture
of his property. While Davis claims that he was not given
notice with regards to the forfeiture, Vicki Rashid of the
DEA Forfeiture Counsel filed an affidavit on September 9,
2016 affirming that Mr. Davis's property was seized in
accordance with forfeiture protocol of the DEA, and that
actual and written notice was provided to Davis.
judgment is proper “if 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). A genuine dispute of material fact exists “if
the evidence is such that a reasonable jury could return a
verdict for the nonmoving party.” Anderson v.
Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248, 106 S.Ct. 2505,
91 L.Ed.2d 202 (1986). At the summary judgment stage, the
court must “draw all reasonable inferences in favor of
the nonmoving party, and it may not make credibility
determinations or weigh the evidence.” Reeves v.
Sanderson Plumbing Prods., 530 U.S. 133, 150, 120 S.Ct.
2097, 147 L.Ed.2d 105 (2000). Once the moving party shows
there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact, the
nonmoving party “must come forward with specific facts
showing a genuine factual issue for trial.” Harris
ex rel. Harris v. Pontotoc Cty. Sch. Dist., 635 F.3d
685, 690 (5th Cir. 2011). “[A] party cannot defeat
summary judgment with conclusory allegations, unsubstantiated
assertions, or ‘only a scintilla of
evidence.'” Turner v. Baylor Richardson Med.
Ctr., 476 F.3d 337, 343 (5th Cir. 2007) (quoting
Little v. Liquid Air Corp., 37 F.3d 1069, 1075 (5th
Cir. 1994)). “If the nonmoving party fails to meet this
burden, the motion for summary judgment must be
granted.” Little, 37 F.3d at 1075.
government assents that due process requires that notice be
“reasonably calculated, under all the circumstances, to
apprise interested parties of the pendency of the forfeiture
action and afford them an opportunity to present their
objections.” U.S. v. Robinson, 434 F.3d 357,
at 362 (5th Cir. 2005). Actual notice is not the
standard to determine whether or not due process requirements
have been met, and the Government is not required to
undertake “heroic efforts” to provide notice.
Taylor v. U.S. 483 F.3d 385, 388 (5th Cir. 2007),
citing (Dusenbery v. United States, 534 U.S. 161,
170, 122 S.Ct. 694, 151 L.Ed.2d 597 (2002)).
December 9, 2014, pursuant to 19 United States Code (U.S.C.)
§ 1607(a) and 18 U.S.C. § 983(a), the DEA sent
written notice of this seizure by certified mail, return
receipt requested, to John Davis, 2750 Attala Road 4121,
Sallis, MS 39160 (Exhibit 1). Mr. Davis's signature is
located on the certified mail signature card, and Mr. Davis
was given actual notice by his presence during the execution
of the search warrant and asset forfeiture. Pursuant to 28
Code of Federal Regulations (C.F.R.) § 8.9(a), the DEA
posted notice of the seizure of the property on
Forfeiture.gov, an official internet government forfeiture
website, for a period of 30 consecutive days beginning on
December 22, 2014, and ending on January 20, 2015 (Exhibit
internet posting and mailed notices explained the option of
filing a claim with the DEA Forfeiture Counsel in order to
contest the forfeiture action in United States District
Court. Pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 983(a), the mailed
notices stated that the deadline to file a claim was January
13, 2015. If the mailed notice was not received, the internet
posting stated that the deadline to file a claim was February
20, 2015. In addition, the internet posting and mailed
notices explained the option of filing a petition for
remission or mitigation of forfeiture. There having been no
properly executed claim received, and the time limit for
filing the claim having expired, the DEA forfeited the $12,
020.00 U.S. Currency to the United States on March 19, 2015.
DEA's efforts to provide notice of the forfeiture
proceeding to Davis comply with due process requirements, as
they were reasonably calculated to apprise Davis of the
pendency of the forfeiture action and they afforded Davis an
opportunity to present his objections. In fact, Davis
received actual notice of the seizure and pending forfeiture
proceeding against the seized funds ...