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Miller v. United States

July 19, 2007

REBEKAH H. MILLER, PLAINTIFF,
v.
UNITED STATES, DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Ricardo M. Urbina United States District Judge

Document No. 4

MEMORANDUM OPINION GRANTING THE DEFENDANT'S MOTION TO DISMISS

I. INTRODUCTION

This matter comes before the court on the defendant's motion to dismiss the plaintiff's claims. Pro se plaintiff Rebekah H. Miller brings this complaint against the United States pursuant to the Taxpayer Bill of Rights, 26 U.S.C. § 7433 ("TBOR"), alleging that employees of the Internal Revenue Service ("IRS") intentionally disregarded or otherwise violated provisions of the TBOR and its corresponding regulations. The defendant moves to dismiss, claiming that the court lacks jurisdiction over the plaintiff's claims because she failed to exhaust administrative remedies. Because the plaintiff failed to exhaust administrative remedies, the court grants the defendant's motion to dismiss.

II. BACKGROUND

The plaintiff alleges that "beginning with 'tax year' 1999, through and including the present year, through principals, officers, agents, and/or employees of the Internal Revenue Service," the defendant committed 18 violations of the Internal Revenue Code ("IRC").*fn1 Compl. at 6-12.

As a remedy, the plaintiff seeks damages equal to $10,000 per violation for a total of $180,000. Id. at 24-25. Additionally, the plaintiff seeks a return of any and all property improperly taken, or alternatively, compensation at current fair market value, an injunction enjoining the defendant from further action in disregard of law or regulation, as well as other and further damages as this court deems just and proper. Id. at 25.

On July 10, 2006, the plaintiff filed suit against the defendant for violating the Internal Revenue Code. Thereafter, on July 22, 2006, the plaintiff submitted an administrative claim in writing to an IRS Area Director pursuant to 26 C.F.R. § 301.7433-1. The defendant thereafter filed a motion to dismiss, to which the court now turns.

III. ANALYSIS

A. The Court Grants the Defendants' Motion to Dismiss

The defendant filed a motion to dismiss the plaintiff's claims arguing that the plaintiff failed to exhaust administrative remedies. Def.'s Mot. to Dismiss at 3-4. Though the defendant asks the court to analyze administrative exhaustion under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(1) (i.e., that it deprives the court of subject-matter jurisdiction), the court analyzes the failure to exhaust administrative remedies under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6). Arbaugh v. Y&H Corp., 126 S.Ct. 1235, 1245 (2006) (concluding that a statutory requirement should be treated as "an element of a plaintiff's claim for relief, not a jurisdictional issue" if "Congress [did] not rank [the] statutory limitation on coverage as jurisdictional"); see also Evans v. United States, 433 F. Supp. 2d 17, 20 (D.D.C. 2006) (determining that failure to comply with the § 7433 administrative exhaustion requirement "is more properly analyzed as a failure to state a claim under Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(6)"); see also Turner v. United States, 429 F. Supp. 2d 149, 154 (D.D.C. 2006) (relying on Arbaugh and concluding that "the exhaustion requirement of section 7433(d)(1) is non-jurisdictional").

B. Legal Standard for Rule 12(b)(6) Motion to Dismiss

A Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss tests the legal sufficiency of a complaint. Browning v. Clinton, 292 F.3d 235, 242 (D.C. Cir. 2002). The complaint need only set forth a short and plain statement of the claim, giving the defendant fair notice of the claim and the grounds upon which it rests. Kingman Park Civic Ass'n v. Williams, 348 F.3d 1033, 1040(D.C. Cir. 2003) (citing FED. R. CIV. P. 8(a)(2) and Conley v. Gibson, 355 U.S. 41, 47 (1957)). "Such simplified notice pleading is made possible by the liberal opportunity for discovery and the other pre-trial procedures established by the Rules to disclose more precisely the basis of both claim and defense to define more narrowly the disputed facts and issues." Conley, 355 U.S. at 47-48 (internal quotation marks omitted). It is not necessary for the plaintiff to plead all elements of his prima facie case in the complaint, Swierkiewicz v. Sonoma N.A., 534 U.S. 506, 511-14 (2002), or "plead law or match facts to every element of a legal theory," Krieger v. Fadely, 211 F.3d 134, 136 (D.C. Cir. 2000) (internal quotation marks and citation omitted).

Accordingly, "the accepted rule in every type of case" is that a court should not dismiss a complaint for failure to state a claim unless the defendant can show beyond doubt that the plaintiff can prove no set of facts in support of his claim that would entitle him to relief. Warren v. Dist. of Columbia, 353 F.3d 36, 37 (D.C. Cir. 2004); Kingman Park, 348 F.3d at 1040. Thus, in resolving a Rule 12(b)(6) motion, the court must treat the complaint's factual allegations -- including mixed questions of law and fact -- as true and draw all reasonable inferences therefrom in the plaintiff's favor. Macharia v. United States, 334 F.3d 61, 64, 67 (D.C. Cir. 2003); Holy Land Found. for Relief & Dev. v. Ashcroft, 333 F.3d 156, 165 (D.C. Cir. 2003); Browning, 292 F.3d at 242. While many well-pleaded complaints ...


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