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Bean v. United States

March 16, 2008

JEFFREY BEAN, PLAINTIFF,
v.
UNITED STATES, DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Colleen Kollar-kotelly United States District Judge

MEMORANDUM OPINION

Pro Se Plaintiff Jeffrey Bean brings this action against Defendant, the United States, seeking damages for alleged misconduct by the Internal Revenue Service ("IRS") in the collection of taxes. Plaintiff seeks relief pursuant to the damages cause of action included in the Taxpayer Bill of Rights, 26 U.S.C. § 7433 ("TBOR"). See generally 2d Am. Verified Compl. ("SAC"); 3d Am. Verified Compl. ("TAC"). Currently pending before the Court is Defendant's [32] Motion to Dismiss Plaintiff's Second Amended Complaint. In addition to opposing Defendant's Motion to Dismiss, Plaintiff has filed a [36] Motion for Leave to Amend his complaint by filing a Third Amended Complaint, which Defendant opposes. Upon a searching examination of the filings submitted by each party, the relevant statutes and case law, and the entire record herein, the Court shall GRANT Defendant's Motion to Dismiss Plaintiff's Second Amended Complaint, and shall DENY Plaintiff's Motion for Leave to Amend, finding that Plaintiff's proposed amendment would be futile. Finally, the Court shall dismiss this action in its entirety with prejudice.

I. BACKGROUND

Plaintiff filed his initial Complaint in this action on November 2, 2005. Plaintiff subsequently moved to amend his Complaint in February 2006, in response to a Court Order requiring him to show cause why venue was proper in this District. On March 15, 2006, Defendant moved to dismiss Plaintiff's original complaint. After the Court granted Plaintiff leave to file his First Amended Complaint in April 2006, he supplemented his Opposition to Defendant's Motion to Dismiss his original Complaint. In December 2006, the Court held Defendant's Motion to Dismiss in abeyance in order to give Plaintiff the opportunity to correct a deficiency in service of process. Plaintiff subsequently served the IRS, and Defendant withdrew its service challenge. In April 2007, Plaintiff filed a Second Amended Complaint and, as a result, the Court denied without prejudice Defendant's Motion to Dismiss Plaintiff's original Complaint. Defendant moved to dismiss Plaintiff's Second Amended Complaint on June 7, 2007. Plaintiff filed his Opposition to that motion on June 18, 2007, and Defendant filed its Reply on July 16, 2007. Thereafter, on July 24, 2007, Plaintiff filed a Motion for Leave to File a Third Amended Complaint, purportedly in order to correct the deficiencies identified in Defendant's pending Motion to Dismiss. Defendant filed its Opposition to Plaintiff's Motion to Amend on August 22, 2007, and Plaintiff filed his Reply on September 17, 2007.

Plaintiff's Second Amended Complaint and proposed Third Amended Complaint represent one of dozens of virtually identical lawsuits brought in this jurisdiction by tax protestors--allegedly proceeding pro se--asserting a variety of forms of misconduct by the IRS.*fn1

Although each of Plaintiff's complaints and proposed complaints present his claims in slightly different formats, Plaintiffs' Second Amended Complaint appears to be identical to at least one other complaint filed in this jurisdiction, see Bryant v. United State, 527 F. Supp. 2d 137 (D.D.C. 2007) (Bates, J.), and his proposed Third Amended Complaint appears to be strikingly similar to at least one other complaint filed in this District, see Jaeger v. United States, 524 F. Supp. 2d 60 (D.D.C. 2007) (Bates, J.). Further, Plaintiff's Second Amended Complaint and proposed Third Amended Complaint continue to suffer from a deficiency seen in most of these cases--namely, they provide no particularized facts specifically pertaining to Plaintiff Jeffrey Bean. See generally SAC; TAC.

Plaintiff's Second Amended Complaint and proposed Third Amended Complaint allege that "On or about 2000 the IRS began tax collection action against plaintiff(s)." SAC at 2-3; TAC at 2.*fn2 In each complaint, Plaintiff then enumerates a variety of "counts" of alleged misconduct on the part of Defendant, which amount to a litany of regulations and statutory provisions with few underlying factual allegations. SAC at 3-24; TAC at 2-17. Plaintiff fails, however, to identify the amount of taxes demanded by the IRS, specify the persons involved in the alleged misconduct, or describe the encumbered properties allegedly at issue.*fn3 Generally, Plaintiff's Second Amended Complaint alleges: (1) failure to notify Plaintiff of his obligation to keep records and file tax returns, and failure to prepare substitute tax returns on his behalf (Counts 1-8); (2) failure to make or record assessments of taxes against Plaintiff, or to furnish such assessments or a notice of deficiency to Plaintiff (Counts 10-17); (3) failure to comply with procedures governing the assessment of interest and penalties (Counts 18-21, 29); (4) improper use of Plaintiff's social security number, financial audit information, and statistical information of other tax payers (Counts 9, 22-23); (5) the imposition of unidentified notices of tax liens or levies in the absence of notice and demand, hearing, and certifications (Counts 24-25, 27-28, 30-33); and (6) "conduct the natural consequence of which is to harass, oppress, or abuse" (Count 26). Equally generally, Plaintiff's proposed Third Amended Complaint alleges misconduct by the IRS beginning with a failure to make lawful assessments and to provide copies of assessment records, followed by unidentified "conduct the natural consequence of which is to harass, oppress, or abuse," and including unlawful attempts to collect taxes through improper notice of unidentified levies and liens issued without proper procedures. See generally TAC.

Based on these allegations, Plaintiff's Second Amended Complaint and proposed Third Amended Complaint seek damages in the amount of $10,000 for each alleged disregard of the Internal Revenue Code ("Code) and/or IRS regulations, or in the alternative, an amount one and one half times the statutory fine under 26 U.S.C. § 7214, a provision of the Code governing criminal offenses by federal employees. SAC at 24; TAC at 17. Plaintiff also seeks "such other and further damages as the court deems just and proper." Id.

II. LEGAL STANDARD

The Federal Rules of Civil Procedure require that a complaint contain "'a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief,' in order to 'give the defendant fair notice of what the . . . claim is and the grounds upon which it rests.'" Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. ___, 127 S.Ct. 1955, 1964 (2007) (quoting Conley v. Gibson, 355 U.S. 41, 47 (1957)); accord Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. ___, 127 S.Ct. 2197, 2200 (2007) (per curiam). Although "detailed factual allegations" are not necessary to withstand a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss, to provide the "grounds" of "entitle[ment] to relief," a plaintiff must furnish "more than labels and conclusions" or "a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action." Id. at 1964-65; see also Papasan v. Allain, 478 U.S. 265, 286 (1986).*fn4 Instead, the complaint's "[f]actual allegations must be enough to raise a right to relief above the speculative level, on the assumption that all the allegations in the complaint are true (even if doubtful in fact)." Bell Atl. Corp., 127 S.Ct. at 1965 (citations omitted).

In evaluating a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim, the court must construe the complaint in a light most favorable to the plaintiff and must accept as true all reasonable factual inferences drawn from well-pleaded factual allegations. In re United Mine Workers of Am. Employee Benefit Plans Litig., 854 F. Supp. 914, 915 (D.D.C. 1994); see also Schuler v. United States, 617 F.2d 605, 608 (D.C. Cir. 1979) ("The complaint must be 'liberally construed in favor of the plaintiff,' who must be granted the benefit of all inferences that can be derived from the facts alleged."). While the court must construe the Complaint in the Plaintiff's favor, it "need not accept inferences drawn by the plaintiff[] if such inferences are unsupported by the facts set out in the complaint." Kowal v. MCI Commc'ns Corp., 16 F.3d 1271, 1276 (D.C. Cir. 1994). Moreover, the court is not bound to accept the legal conclusions of the non-moving party. See Taylor v. FDIC, 132 F.3d 753, 762 (D.C. Cir. 1997).

III. DISCUSSION

Defendant's Motion to Dismiss Plaintiff's Second Amended Complaint argues: (1) that Plaintiff impermissibly attempts to challenge the merits of his underlying tax liability, rather than any unauthorized collection; (2) that Plaintiff fails to state an unauthorized collection claim; and (3) that Plaintiff seeks relief pursuant to a criminal statute that provides no private right of action. The Court addresses each of these arguments, concluding that Plaintiff's Second Amended Complaint must be dismissed in its entirety. The Court then turns to Plaintiff's Motion for Leave to Amend his complaint by filing a Third Amended Complaint, ...


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