Case No. CV-01-624-BLW
July 25, 2002
MEMORANDUM DECISION AND ORDER
The Court has before it a Motion to Dismiss, filed by Defendants John Peterson and James L. Mason and Plaintiffs' Motion for the Joinder of New Parties. (Docket Nos. 6, 9). The Court has sent the Plaintiffs, pro se litigants, a notice setting forth the requirements for responding to a Motion to Dismiss (Docket No. 10). The Court has considered all of the parties' filings. For the reasons discussed below, the Court will GRANT Defendants' Motion to Dismiss and DENY Plaintiffs' Motion for the Joinder of New Parties.
The Court is unable to ascertain the relationship of David Pilon to the instant case. Defendants Peterson and Mason have no knowledge of any dealings with this plaintiff (Docket No. 7) (Exhibits A, B).
I Motion to Dismiss
The Plaintiffs' Complaint is largely incomprehensible. Nonetheless, the Court has reviewed, and liberally construed, all of the Plaintiffs' filings in an attempt to identify whether any cognizable claims have been raised. See Balistreria v. Pacifica Police Dep't, 901 F.2d 696, 699 (9th Cir. 1990). Defendants Peterson and Mason seek dismissal of Plaintiffs' claims for lack of subject matter jurisdiction. See Federal R. Civ. P. 12(b)(1).
The Plaintiffs attempt to make claims against the Defendants based on unrecognized causes of action, e.g., for a "no fiction-jurisdiction" and "constructive treason." Plaintiffs also list a litany of claims from which the Court is unable to discern any relevancy to the instant case, e.g., extortion, conspiracy, tort, etc.
Defendants seek dismissal on other grounds which the Court declines to consider at this time. (Docket No. 7).
A Lack of Subject Matter Jurisdiction
The Court has no subject matter jurisdiction in the instant case. Federal district courts are courts of limited jurisdiction. They have subject matter jurisdiction over cases in diversity or cases in which a federal question is presented. See 28 U.S.C. § 1331-1332. Diversity is not alleged in Plaintiffs' Complaint, nor could it be alleged in this matter because the Plaintiffs and at least one of the Defendants are residents of Idaho. (Docket No. 1).
Whether subject matter jurisdiction exists is a question of law. See Nike, Inc. v. Comercial Iberica De Exclusivas Deportivas; S.A., 20 F.3d 987, 990 (9th Cir. 1990). The party seeking to invoke federal jurisdiction has the burden of establishing it. See Kokkonen v. Guardian Life Inst Co. of Am., 511 U.S. 375 (1994).
In any action against it, the United States must waive its sovereign immunity. See Arford v. United States of America, 934 F.2d 229, 231 (9th Cir. 1991) (citations omitted). Waiver of sovereign immunity must be express, not implied. See Gilbert v. DaGrossa, 756 F.2d 1455, 1458 (9th Cir. 1985) (citing United States v. King, 395 U.S. 1, 4 (1969)). The United States must consent to be sued. See id.; Gilbert, 756 F.2d at 1458. If the United States has not expressly consented then the suit must be dismissed. See Gilbert, 756 F.2d at 1458 (citations omitted).
Plaintiffs have not named the United States as a party. Defendants Peterson and Mason argue that the claims against them are actually claims against the United States. The Court agrees.
Defendants Peterson and Mason are employees of the Internal Revenue Service, hereinafter "IRS." (Docket No. 8). The doctrine of sovereign immunity extends to federal employees acting within the scope of their official duties as federal employees. See Gilbert, 756 F.2d at 1458. The Plaintiffs have failed to include in their Complaint, or Amended Complaint, any coherent factual allegations against the Defendants, either in their official capacity as employees of the IRS or in their personal capacities, that might establish jurisdiction. (Docket Nos. 1, 2).
The Court has attempted to extract from Plaintiffs' diffuse and incoherent pleadings the actual claims against Defendants Peterson and Mason. From those pleadings, the Court can only hypothesize that the claims against Defendants Peterson and Mason are related to their actions as employees of the IRS.
Plaintiffs' Complaint and subsequent filings appear to be an attempt to express their disapproval of the government's attachment of their wages and real property. Defendants Peterson and Mason, as employees of the IRS, are permitted to collect unpaid tax liabilities through the use of administrative levies. See 26 U.S.C. § 6331; see also Farr v. United States of America, 990 F.2d 451, 455-56 (9th Cir. 1993) (citation omitted). Section 6331(a) empowers the IRS "to collect such tax . . . by levy upon all property and rights to property . . . belonging to such person . . ."
Defendants Peterson and Mason have acknowledged the filing of federal tax liens on the property of Plaintiff Steven Sego. (Docket No. 8).
The Court recognizes that an injunction may sometimes issue to prevent the collection of taxes where the taxpayer demonstrates that the government could not possibly prevail on the merits and the taxpayer will suffer irreparable harm. See Farr, 990 F.2d at 453. Plaintiffs have made no such showing in their pleadings to "the Court. Thus, to the extent that the Plaintiffs seek to prevent the collection of taxes by the IRS, the Court lacks subject matter jurisdiction. See 26 U.S.C. § 7421 (a); see also Hughes v. United States of America, 953 F.2d 531, 535 (9th Cir. 1992. Therefore, the Court will grant Defendants' Motion to Dismiss for lack of subject matter jurisdiction.
The Ninth Circuit has yet to recognize a constitutional violation arising from the collection of taxes. See Wages v. IRS, 915 F.2d 1230, 1235 (9th Cir. 1990).
The Court dismisses Plaintiffs' claims against all of the named Defendants in this case. See Silverton v. Dep't of Treasury, 644 F.2d 1341, 1345 (9th Cir.), cert denied, 454 U.S. 895 (1981) (concluding that the Court may properly "dismiss an action as to defendants who have not moved to dismiss where such defendants are in a position similar to that of moving defendants or where claims against such defendants are integrally related.")
II Motion for the Joinder of New Parties
Plaintiffs have filed a Motion for the Joinder of New Parties, attempting to join Judge Edward J. Lodge and Kootenai County to this case. (Docket No. 9). However, because the Court does not have subject matter jurisdiction over Plaintiffs' claims, the Motion for Joinder of New Parties is denied.
"Leave to amend need not be granted when an amendment would be futile." Fischer it Vantive Corp., 283 F.3d 1079, 1097 (9th Cir. 2002) (citation omitted). The Court's discretion in granting leave to amend is even more broad where the Plaintiff has already amended its original complaint. See id. at 1097-98 (citing Allen v. City of Beverly Hills, 911 F.2d 367, 343 (9th Cir. 1990)).
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED, that Plaintiffs' Motion for Joinder of New Parties, shall be DENIED. (Docket No. 9).
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED, that Plaintiffs' "Writ of the Error Default-Judgment," shall be DENIED. (Docket No. 5)