The opinion of the court was delivered by: TEITELBAUM
Jordan Lilienthal is an official court reporter for the United States District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania. He was notified by the City of Pittsburgh that pursuant to the City of Pittsburgh Code of Ordinances, Title Two, Chapter 243, it intended to assess and collect a business privilege tax on the gross receipts from the sale of transcripts provided by Lilienthal in his capacity as official federal court reporter.
A Treasurer's Hearing on the matter was held, at which time the assessment was upheld. Lilienthal then filed an appeal of that determination in the Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, Civil Division, captioned as Jordan Lilienthal v. City of Pittsburgh and Stephen A. Schillo, Treasurer, and numbered as S.A. 311 of 1983. Lilienthal was represented in that action by the United States Attorney for the Western District of Pennsylvania. A hearing on the matter was scheduled for September 9, 1983.
On July 14, 1983, Lilienthal and the United States of America brought the present action in federal court as co-plaintiffs. They sought, among other things, a declaration that the business privilege tax does not apply to federal court reporters, including Lilienthal, because imposition of such a tax against fees received by official federal court reporters for preparing official transcripts amounted to an unconstitutional interference with the United States of America.
This Court issued an order on August 25, 1983 staying the hearing in state court scheduled for September 9, 1983.
II. Jurisdictional Objections
Plaintiffs have asserted that this Court has jurisdiction over this action under 28 U.S.C. § 1345, which provides that:
Except as otherwise provided by Act of Congress, the district courts shall have original jurisdiction of all civil actions, suits or proceedings commenced by the United States, or by any officer or by any agency or officer thereof expressly authorized to sue by Act of Congress.
The defendants deny that this Court has jurisdiction over this action and have put forth the following arguments in support thereof.
A. Real Party in Interest
The defendants maintain that because the United States is not a "real party in interest" to this action, 28 U.S.C. § 1345 does not confer jurisdiction upon this court. According to the defendants, 28 U.S.C. § 1345 confers original jurisdiction upon this Court only if the United States is a "real party in interest." However, only Lilienthal is a "real party in interest" because the taxes in question allegedly are to be paid by him and not by the United States.
28 U.S.C. § 1345 grants to the United States the unqualified right to apply to its own courts when it seeks either to protect its own sovereign interest or to insure the unimpeded administration of one of its policies. See United States v. Tax Commission, 421 U.S. 599, 44 L. Ed. 2d 404, 95 S. Ct. 1872 (1975); also Department of Employment v. United States, 385 U.S. 355, 17 L. Ed. 2d 414, 87 S. Ct. 464 (1966).
The United States is a "real party in interest" here. It is not necessary that the United States have an alleged pecuniary interest in order to be a "real party in interest." See United States v. Lewisburg Area School District, 539 F.2d 301, 305 (3d Cir. 1976). The United States is a "real party in interest" when a local statute allegedly conflicts with the laws or Constitution of the United States and it allegedly impedes or frustrates programs or policies of the United States, one of its agencies, or one of its instrumentalities. See United States v. Arlington County, 669 F.2d 925, 929 (4th Cir. 1982). Such allegations have been made by the plaintiffs in this action.
Defendants next argue that this Court lacks jurisdiction over this action because of the Tax Injunction Act, 28 U.S.C. § 1341, which provides that:
The district courts shall not enjoin, suspend or restrain the assessment, levy or collection of any tax under State law where a plain, speedy and efficient remedy may be had in the courts of such State.
According to the defendants, the business privilege tax was enacted pursuant to 53 P.S. §§ 6902 and 6908. Also, there exists a plain, speedy and efficient remedy in the ...