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WHITE v. UNITED STATES GOV'T DEP'T OF THE TREASURY

June 30, 1997

COREY D. WHITE, Plaintiff,
v.
THE UNITED STATES GOVERNMENT DEPARTMENT OF THE TREASURY--INTERNAL REVENUE SERVICE, Defendant.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: KATZ

 AND NOW, this 30th day of June, 1997, upon consideration of defendant's Motion to Dismiss, plaintiff's Motion to Quash Defendant's Motion to Dismiss and to Deny, and plaintiff's Motion for a Preliminary Injunction, it is hereby ORDERED that defendant's Motion to Dismiss is GRANTED, plaintiff's Motion to Quash is DENIED, and plaintiff's Motion for Preliminary Injunction is DENIED as moot.

 I. Facts

 The Internal Revenue Service has been levying the wages of plaintiff Corey White in an attempt to collect his unpaid tax liability for the 1990, 1991, and 1992 tax years. See Def. Mot. Ex. B. Plaintiff has refused to pay his federal income tax: on his 1991 and 1992 tax returns, he claimed that his wages were "Non-Taxable Compensation," citing Eisner v. Macomber, 252 U.S. 189, 64 L. Ed. 521, 40 S. Ct. 189 (1920) as legal authority. Id. Ex. A. On October 21, 1996, the Internal Revenue Service assessed the plaintiff a $ 500 penalty for filing a frivolous return with respect to the 1990, 1991, and 1992 returns. Id. Exs. B, C. White was sent notices of the assessments and demands for payment. Id. Exs. B, C. The plaintiff was also assessed additional taxes for 1990, 1991, 1992, and 1994, and he was sent a notice of deficiency at the time this assessment was made. Id. Exs. B, C. Plaintiff filed this suit pro se in federal court, claiming that he is a citizen of Pennsylvania, not the United States, and that the IRS has violated federal law in levying his wages. *fn1" He has also filed for a preliminary injunction to put a stop to any further levy on his wages.

 II. Standard

 As White is a pro se litigant, the allegations in his complaint must be liberally construed. See Torres v. Oakland Scavenger Co., 487 U.S. 312, 101 L. Ed. 2d 285, 108 S. Ct. 2405 (1988); Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520, 30 L. Ed. 2d 652, 92 S. Ct. 594 (1972). The government has filed a motion to dismiss under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(1) and Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6). A motion to dismiss for lack of subject matter jurisdiction under F.R.C.P. 12(b)(1) must be measured according to a different standard than a motion to dismiss under F.R.C.P. 12(b)(6). Dismissal is proper under 12(b)(1) only when "the claim clearly appears to be immaterial and made solely for the purpose of obtaining jurisdiction or . . . is wholly insubstantial and frivolous." Kehr Packages, Inc. v. Fidelcor, Inc., 926 F.2d 1406, 1409 (3d Cir. 1991). As a result, the threshold to withstand a motion to dismiss under 12(b)(1) is lower than that required to withstand a Rule 12(b)(6) motion, and a court must not address factual and legal issues raised as issues on the merits, rather than as jurisdictional issues. Growth Horizons, Inc. v. Delaware County, 983 F.2d 1277 (3d Cir. 1993); Kehr Packages, 926 F.2d at 1409. When subject matter jurisdiction is challenged under Rule 12(b)(1), the plaintiff bears the burden of persuasion, whereas under Rule 12(b)(6), the defendant has the burden to demonstrate that no claim has been stated. Id.

 A 12(b)(1) motion may take one of two forms: motions that attack the complaint on its face, or a "facial attack," and 12(b)(1) motions that attack the existence of subject matter jurisdiction in fact, quite apart from any pleadings, or a "factual attack." See Mortensen v. First Federal Sav. and Loan Ass'n., 549 F.2d 884, 891 (3d Cir. 1977). A factual attack is based on extrinsic evidence outside of the pleadings. "In a typical factual attack, the plaintiff's allegations are not controlling, but are mere evidence on the issue to be considered by the trial court." See Rhoades v. United States, 950 F. Supp. 623, 628 (D. Del. 1996). In evaluating a factual attack under 12(b)(1), the trial court may weigh the evidence and decide whether it may hear the case. As the Third Circuit said in Mortenson, "no presumptive truthfulness attaches to plaintiff's allegations, and the existence of disputed material facts will not preclude the trial court from evaluating for itself the merits of the jurisdictional claims." 549 F.2d at 891. Although the government has not stated whether it considers its 12(b)(1) arguments to be a facial or factual attack, it attaches a variety of exhibits and has argued that White has not presented a cognizable claim, so this court will evaluate the 12(b)(1) motion as a factual attack.

 By contrast, a motion to dismiss under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) tests the sufficiency of the complaint. See Conley v. Gibson, 355 U.S. 41, 45-46, 2 L. Ed. 2d 80, 78 S. Ct. 99 (1957). The court must determine whether the plaintiffs would be entitled to relief under any set of facts that could be established in support of their claims. See Piecknick v. Pennsylvania, 36 F.3d 1250, 1255 (3d Cir. 1994). All allegations in the complaint and all reasonable inferences that can be drawn therefrom must be accepted as true and viewed in the light most favorable to the plaintiffs. See id.

 III. Discussion

 1. 12(b)(1)

 a. Anti-Injunction Act

 White faces a number of legal barriers to his claim for injunctive relief. The United States retains its immunity from suit unless it has unequivocally expressed a waiver of its immunity. See, e.g., United States v. Nordic Village, Inc., 503 U.S. 30, 33-31, 117 L. Ed. 2d 181, 112 S. Ct. 1011 (1992). In addition, the Anti-Injunction Act bars jurisdiction for suits seeking injunctions of the collection of federal taxes. See 26 U.S.C. § 7421(a) (1996). As a result, unless a plaintiff can establish that he falls within an exception to the Act, a court does not have jurisdiction to enter an order affecting the assessment or collection of federal taxes. See Bob Jones Univ. v. Simon, 416 U.S. 725, 736-37, 40 L. Ed. 2d 496, 94 S. Ct. 2038 (1974); Flynn v. United States, 786 F.2d 586, 588 (3d Cir. 1986); see also Iannelli v. Long, 487 F.2d 317, 318 (3d Cir. 1972). *fn2"


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