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Robertson v. United States

United States District Court, D. Maryland, Northern Division

February 4, 2014

KEVIN ROBERTSON, Plaintiff,
v.
UNITED STATES, Defendant.

MEMORANDUM OPINION

WILLIAM D. QUARLES, Jr., District Judge.

Kevin Robertson pro se sued the United States for the unauthorized collection of a tax lien.[1] Pending are Robertson's motions for a preliminary injunction and for leave to file an amended complaint, and the Defendant's motion to dismiss for lack of jurisdiction and failure to state a claim. For the following reasons, Robertson's motion for leave to file an amended complaint will be denied. His motion for a preliminary injunction will be denied as moot. The Government's motion to dismiss will be granted.

I. Background[2]

The Internal Revenue Service ("IRS"), issued a notice of levy on wages to Robertson's employer, Hughes Network Systems LLC, dated April 26, 2013. ECF No. 1-3. On April 30, 2013, a payroll specialist with Robertson's employer notified him that the payroll office had received an IRS levy on his wages for the tax years 2003 to 2007 in the amount of $40, 012.61. ECF No. 1-2. On June 13, 2013, the IRS began garnishing Robertson's wages. See ECF No. 10 at 2; ECF No. 10-2.

On May 10, 2013, Robertson pro se sued the United States under 26 U.S.C. ยง 7432 to "prevent the unauthorized collection action of a lien on real property." See ECF No. 1 at 1. On May 10, 2013, Robertson also moved for a preliminary injunction. ECF No. 2. On August 2, 2013, the Government moved to dismiss for lack of jurisdiction and for failure to state a claim. ECF No. 8. On August 22, 2013, Robertson moved for leave to file an amended complaint. ECF No. 10.

II. Analysis

A. Legal Standard

1. Failure to State a Claim

Under Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6), an action may be dismissed for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. Rule 12(b)(6) tests the legal sufficiency of a complaint, but does not "resolve contests surrounding the facts, the merits of a claim, or the applicability of defenses." Presley v. City of Charlottesville, 464 F.3d 480, 483 (4th Cir. 2006).

The Court bears in mind that Rule 8(a)(2) requires only a "short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief." Migdal v. Rowe Price-Fleming Int'l Inc., 248 F.3d 321, 325-26 (4th Cir. 2001). Although Rule 8's notice-pleading requirements are "not onerous, " the plaintiff must allege facts that support each element of the claim advanced. Bass v. E.I. Dupont de Nemours & Co., 324 F.3d 761, 764-65 (4th Cir. 2003). These facts must be sufficient to "state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face." Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007).

This requires that the plaintiff do more than "plead[] facts that are merely consistent with a defendant's liability'"; the facts pled must "allow[] the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged." Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 557). The complaint must not only allege but also "show" that the plaintiff is entitled to relief. Id. at 679 (internal quotation marks omitted). "Whe[n] the well-pleaded facts do not permit the court to infer more than the mere possibility of misconduct, the complaint has alleged-but it has not shown-that the pleader is entitled to relief." Id. (internal quotation marks and alteration omitted).

2. Subject Matter Jurisdiction

Under Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(1), the Court must dismiss an action if it discovers it lacks subject matter jurisdiction. The plaintiff has the burden of proving that the Court has jurisdiction, and the Court must make all reasonable inferences in the plaintiff's favor. Khoury v. Meserve, 268 F.Supp.2d 600, 606 (D. Md. 2003), aff'd, 85 F.Appx. 960 (4th Cir. 2004). The Court may "look beyond the pleadings" to decide whether it has ...


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