24 F.3d 1143 (9th Cir. 1994), 92-56207, Williams v. United States

Docket Nº:92-56207.
Citation:24 F.3d 1143
Party Name:Lori Rabin WILLIAMS, Plaintiff-Appellant, v. UNITED STATES of America, Defendant-Appellee.
Case Date:May 19, 1994
Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
 
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24 F.3d 1143 (9th Cir. 1994)

Lori Rabin WILLIAMS, Plaintiff-Appellant,

v.

UNITED STATES of America, Defendant-Appellee.

No. 92-56207.

United States Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit

May 19, 1994

Argued and Submitted March 10, 1994.

Philip Garrett Panitz, Gose, Panitz & Lechman, Camarillo, CA, for plaintiff-appellant.

Kevin M. Brown, U.S. Dept. of Justice, Washington, DC, for defendant-appellee.

Appeal from the United States District Court for the Central District of California.

Before: PREGERSON, O'SCANNLAIN, and FERNANDEZ, Circuit Judges.

Opinion by Judge O'SCANNLAIN

O'SCANNLAIN, Circuit Judge:

We must decide whether one who erroneously pays the taxes of another may sue for a refund.

I

In April 1975, Jerrold Rabin ("Rabin") and his then wife Lori Rabin (now Lori Williams) ("Williams") purchased a house in Pacific Palisades, California. On June 29, 1987, and March 28, 1988, the government assessed employment tax liabilities against Rabin. On October 20, 1988, Rabin transferred all of his interest in the house to Williams as her separate property. On October 25, 1988, Rabin recorded a quitclaim deed giving title to "Lori Williams an unmarried woman." 1 On November 10, 1988, the Internal Revenue Service ("IRS") filed the first in a series of tax liens against the property in order to satisfy outstanding employment taxes owed by Rabin and Marco Polo 1, a partnership in which Rabin was a general partner. On January 19, 1989, Williams filed a petition for dissolution of her marriage to Rabin.

On approximately May 9, 1989, Williams entered into an escrow agreement to sell the house. On June 26, 1989, the IRS recorded another lien. Under protest, Williams authorized disbursement of $41,369 to the IRS so that she could convey clear title. On March 19, 1990, Williams' marriage to Rabin was dissolved.

After her administrative claim for refund was denied, Williams filed suit in federal district court under 28 U.S.C. Sec. 1346(a)(1)

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for a refund of the money owed by Rabin which she had paid to the IRS, plus interest, costs, and attorneys' fees. The parties filed cross-motions for summary judgment. The government argued lack of jurisdiction because 28 U.S.C. Sec. 1346(a)(1) does not allow suits by third-party plaintiffs. On September 2, 1992, the district court denied Williams' motion for summary judgment and...

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