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UNITED STATES v. DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA

September 3, 1982

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff,
v.
DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA, Defendant



The opinion of the court was delivered by: RICHEY

 UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE, CHARLES R. RICHEY.

 The Court has before it two motions: *fn1" (1) Defendant's Motion to Dismiss; and, (2) Plaintiff's Motion for Summary Judgment. *fn2" For the reasons stated herein, the Court denies Defendant's Motion to Dismiss and grants Plaintiff's Motion for Summary Judgment. These motions are decided without oral argument.

 I.

 BACKGROUND

 This is an action brought by the United States, seeking a declaratory judgment that the United States Capitol Historical Society ("USCHS") is a federal instrumentality and that the defendant, District of Columbia, has no power to tax sales by the USCHS. Alternatively, the United States seeks a declaration that USCHS is exempt from taxation because it operates in a federal enclave.

 The USCHS is a nonprofit corporation organized under District of Columbia law and granted a federal charter in 1978. USCHS operates the Capitol Visitors Center on the United States' Capitol grounds as authorized by Title III of the National Visitors Center Facilities Act of 1968. Pub. L. No. 90-624 (40 U.S.C. § 831). The Society produces a variety of books, pamphlets, brochures and general merchandise which are sold at the Visitors Center. *fn3"

 In November 1981, defendant filed suit against USCHS in the District of Columbia Superior Court to collect $743,029.30 in sales taxes, penalties and interest. Defendant also sought a declaratory judgment to require the Society to collect sales taxes and file sales and use tax returns. *fn4" District of Columbia v. United States Capitol Historical Society, CA No. 81-3119 (hereinafter "DC v. USCHS"). A third party complaint was filed against the United States and the case was removed to federal district court. This Court dismissed the third party complaint and remanded to the Superior Court. Thereafter, the United States brought this action in federal district court and the motions pending before the Court were filed.

  II

 DEFENDANT'S MOTION TO DISMISS IS DENIED BECAUSE THE UNITED STATES HAS STANDING AND THE SUIT IS NOT BARRED BY RES JUDICATA OR COLLATERAL ESTOPPEL

 Defendant moves to dismiss Plaintiff's Complaint for Declaratory Judgment on three grounds: (a) res judicata; (b) standing; and, (c) collateral estoppel.

 (a) Defendant contends that because the instant case is virtually identical to the case of DC v. USCHS, this Court's remand of the latter case bars this action under the doctrine of res judicata. The Court disagrees. This Court's Order of March 22, 1982 struck the third party complaint filed by the USCHS against the United States and then remanded the case to the Superior Court because the grounds for removal were eliminated once the United States was no longer a party. The Order merely determined that USCHS had not filed a proper third party complaint against the United States under Rule 14(a) Fed. R. Civ. Pro., as the District of Columbia argued at that time. *fn5" At most, this Order could bar USCHS from refiling the third party complaint against the United States in the case of DC v. USCHS and again seeking removal. But it does not preclude the filing of the instant case which is a separate action brought by the United States to protect its sovereign rights.

 In this action, jurisdiction is clearly conferred upon this Court by 28 U.S.C. § 1345. See United States v. District of Columbia, 215 U.S. App. D.C. 352, 669 F.2d 738, 741-42 (D.C. Cir. 1981) (hereinafter "US v. DC").

 (b) The defendant alleges that the United States does not have standing to bring this complaint because, first, it has suffered no injury and second, the USCHS is not a ...


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