Unpublished Disposition, 923 F.2d 862 (9th Cir. 1989)Annotate this Case
Donald D. PATRIDGE, Plaintiff-Appellant,v.UNITED STATES of America, Defendant-Appellee.
United States Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit.
Submitted Nov. 16, 1990.Decided Jan. 22, 1991.
Before JAMES R. BROWNING, BEEZER and RYMER, Circuit Judges.
Donald Patridge appeals the district court's grant of summary judgment in favor of the United States of America in his action to quiet title to real property. Patridge contends the district court did not adequately consider his request to defer ruling on the summary judgment motion and precluded him from obtaining discovery necessary to oppose the government's motion. We affirm.
In response to a motion for summary judgment, the nonmoving party may oppose the motion and set forth specific facts showing there is a genuine issue for trial, Fed.R.Civ.Proc. 56(e), or explain to the district court why he cannot presently produce "facts essential to justify the party's opposition," Fed.R.Civ.Proc. 56(f). Patridge opted to invoke the protections of Rule 56(f) and requested the district court to defer consideration of the government's summary judgment motion and to allow him to conduct additional discovery. In its order entered December 21, 1989, the district court, exercising its discretion, denied this request and, finding the government's motion otherwise unopposed, granted summary judgment against Patridge.
A discovery request under Rule 56(f) will not suffice to withstand summary judgment unless it makes clear the specific information the party hopes to discover and how this information would preclude summary judgment. Hall v. Hawaii, 791 F.2d 759, 761 (9th Cir. 1986); see also VISA Int'l Serv. Assoc. v. Bankcard Holders of Am., 784 F.2d 1472, 1475 (9th Cir. 1986) (courts generally deny Rule 56(f) applications where it is clear that evidence sought is almost certainly nonexistent or is object of pure speculation). Patridge did not identify what information he was seeking, nor how discovery would have enabled him to controvert the facts contained in the government's motion. Presented with only the bare assertion that the information necessary to oppose the motion was in the hands of the government, the district court did not abuse its discretion in declining to authorize a "fishing expedition" into IRS files.
The district court was also correct in granting summary judgment. Other than his request for additional discovery, Patridge never filed further opposition to the government's motion despite being advised to do so by the district court. See Fed.R.Civ.Proc. 56(c) ("adverse party prior to the day of hearing may serve opposing affidavits"); C.D. Cal. R. 7.6 (opposition papers must be filed 14 days prior to hearing). The uncontroverted Certificates of Assessments and Payments, filed in support of the government's motion, demonstrate the validity and procedural regularity of the assessment of taxes and subsequent imposition of tax liens. United States v. Chila, 871 F.2d 1015, 1018 (11th Cir.), cert. denied, 110 S. Ct. 498 (1989). These certificates are competent evidence, Fed.R.Evid. 902(4), and properly supply the basis for summary judgment in favor of the government.