United States v. Hinders, No. 15-2622 (8th Cir. 2016)Annotate this Case
In 2013, the IRS seized $32,820.56 from Carole Hinders’s business bank account based on allegations that Hinders had unlawfully “structured” deposits to avoid federal currency reporting requirements. The government then filed a civil forfeiture complaint against the seized currency, and Hinders filed claims to the seized property. The district court eventually dismissed the action without prejudice. The district court then denied Hinder's motion for fees under the Civil Asset Forfeiture Reform Act (CAFRA), 28 U.S.C. 2465(b)(1), and declined to reconsider its prior dismissal without prejudice. The court concluded, however, that Hinders has not “substantially prevailed” in this action where the district court’s dismissal without prejudice did not materially alter the legal relationship of the parties. Therefore, Hinders is not eligible for an award of attorney fees, costs, or interest under CAFRA. The court also concluded that the district court did not abuse its discretion in dismissing the case without prejudice rather than with prejudice. In this case, the district court considered each of the relevant factors in deciding to grant the government’s motion and Hinders had not shown that she would be prejudiced by a dismissal without prejudice. Accordingly, the court affirmed the judgment.