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Lundberg v. United States

July 1, 2010

TIMOTHY JOEL JONATHAN LUNDBERG, PLAINTIFF,
v.
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA AND ATTORNEY GENERAL OF THE UNITED STATES, DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Henry H. Kennedy, Jr. United States District Judge

MEMORANDUM OPINION

Timothy Joel Jonathan Lundberg, proceeding pro se, brings this action against the United States of America and the Attorney General of the United States asserting that the Internal Revenue Service ("IRS") unlawfully placed liens on his property and assessed taxes against him. He seeks an "order of cease and desist," a declaratory judgment, and monetary relief. Before the Court is the defendants' motion to dismiss [#8]. Upon consideration of the motion, the opposition thereto, and the record of this case, the Court concludes that the motion should be granted.

I. BACKGROUND

The IRS filed notices of federal tax liens against real property located at 28890 Greenberg Place, Murrieta, California, where Lundberg alleges he currently resides as a renter. Compl.¶ 12.*fn1 He initiated this action on August 4, 2009, contending that the federal government lacks the authority to place a lien on his property or to enforce certain provisions of the tax code. Id. ¶¶ 1, 8-10. Lundberg contends that the government violated his rights under the Fourth, Fifth, Seventh, and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution, id. ¶¶ 5, 12, and argues that the United States failed to comply with IRS procedural regulations governing lien notification, id. ¶ 32, and their counterparts in California state law, id. ¶ 12.*fn2

Lundberg requests that the Court issue "an order of cease and desist" to halt the collection of taxes from him. Id. ¶ 102. He also seeks a declaratory judgment that discharges his prior tax and lien obligations and prohibits the government from attempting to collect taxes from him unless it meets certain conditions. Id. ¶ 103. He further seeks his legal fees and $75,000 for interference with his private life and property. Id. ¶ 107.

II. LEGAL STANDARD

Under Rule 12(b)(1) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, a court may dismiss a complaint for lack of subject matter jurisdiction. Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(1). "Federal courts are courts of limited jurisdiction . . . [and it] is to be presumed that a cause lies outside this limited jurisdiction." Kokkonen v. Guardian Life Ins. Co. of America, 511 U.S. 375, 377 (1994). A plaintiff bears the burden of establishing that the court has subject matter jurisdiction. Moms Against Mercury v. FDA, 483 F.3d 824, 828 (D.C. Cir. 2007); see also Newby v. Obama, 681 F. Supp. 2d 53, 55 (D.D.C. 2010) (noting that "even a pro se plaintiff bears the burden") (internal quotation marks omitted).*fn3

III. ANALYSIS

Defendants assert that each of Lundberg's requests for relief and claims must be dismissed. Defendants argue that (1) the Anti-Injunction Act, 26 U.S.C. § 7421(a), deprives the Court of subject matter jurisdiction over Lundberg's request for a cease and desist order, (2) the Declaratory Judgment Act, 28 U.S.C. § 2201(a), does not provide the Court with subject matter jurisdiction over Lundberg's request for a declaratory judgment, and (3) the sovereign immunity of the United States prevents the Court from exercising jurisdiction over Lundberg's claims alleging constitutional violations. Defendants further argue that the Attorney General is an improper defendant in this case.

A. The Court Must Dismiss Lundberg's Claims Because it Cannot Grant the Relief That Lundberg Seeks

As noted, Lundberg seeks three remedies based on his claims that the United States is unlawfully attempting to collect taxes from him: an "order of cease and desist," a declaratory judgment, and damages.

1. The Court Lacks Subject Matter Jurisdiction to Grant a Cease and Desist Order to Lundberg

Defendants argue that the Anti-Injunction Act deprives the Court of jurisdiction over Lundberg's request for a cease and desist order, and the Court agrees. The Anti-Injunction Act bars most suits to enjoin collection of federal taxes. 26 U.S.C. § 7421(a).*fn4 "The object of § 7421(a) is to withdraw jurisdiction from the state and federal courts to entertain suits seeking injunctions prohibiting the collection of federal taxes." Enochs v. Williams Packing & Navig. Co., 370 U.S. 1, 5 (1962).

Lundberg argues on several grounds that the Court may issue a cease and desist order. First, Lundberg contends that the Anti-Injunction Act does not bar his request because an "order of cease and desist" is not an injunction. Pl.'s Opp'n to Def.'s Mot. to Dismiss ("Pl.'s Opp'n") at 2. But an injunction is a "court order commanding or preventing an action," BLACK'S LAW DICTIONARY (8th ed. 2004), which is precisely the nature of the relief that Lundberg seeks. Cf. KPMG, LLP v. SEC, 289 F.3d 109, 124 (D.C. Cir. 2002) (utilizing "cease and desist order" and "injunction" interchangeably); Pollinger v. ...


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