Botta v. Scanlon

Decision Date09 November 1961
Docket Number61-C-502.,No. 60-C-239,60-C-239
Citation198 F. Supp. 899
PartiesMichael BOTTA, Ernest Montagni and Salvatore Santaniello, Plaintiffs, v. Thomas E. SCANLON, District Director of Internal Revenue for the District of Brooklyn, New York, Defendant. Victoria LEE and Joseph Needle, Plaintiffs, v. Thomas E. SCANLON, District Director of Internal Revenue for the District of Brooklyn, New York, Defendant.
CourtU.S. District Court — Eastern District of New York

Daniel H. Greenberg, New York City, for plaintiffs.

Joseph P. Hoey, U. S. Atty., Brooklyn, N. Y., by Jon H. Hammer, Asst. U. S. Atty., Brooklyn, N. Y., of counsel, for the District Director of Internal Revenue.

RAYFIEL, District Judge.

The defendant moves to dismiss the complaints in these actions, pursuant to Rule 12(b) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, 28 U.S.C. The plaintiffs move under Rule 65 of the said Rules for a preliminary injunction enjoining and restraining the defendant from enforcing the 100% penalty assessments filed against them.

The complaints in both actions are substantially similar. They allege that the plaintiffs, who are officers and/or stockholders of defunct corporations which owe the Government withholding and social security taxes, are persons against whom the defendant has levied 100% penalty assessments pursuant to Section 6672 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1954, (Title 26 U.S.Code) but that the plaintiffs did not wilfully fail to withhold, collect and pay over the aforesaid taxes and, hence, are not liable for the said 100% penalty assessments. They further allege that the liens filed against them and the demands made by the defendant to enforce the assessments are causing them irreparable harm and damage, and threaten to reduce them to a state of complete destitution. The complaints pray for the following relief:

1. To declare null and void, and to vacate and set aside, the 100% penalty assessments made by the defendant pursuant to Section 6672, supra.

2. To enjoin the defendant from collecting the aforesaid penalty assessments.

3. To vacate and cancel the tax liens filed by the defendant.

4. To vacate and annul the demands for payment and notices of levy issued and served against the plaintiffs.

5. To enjoin the defendant from enforcing and collecting the aforesaid penalty assessments made and issued against the plaintiffs under the aforesaid demands for payment and notices of levy.

Judge Bartels dismissed the original complaint in the Botta case in an opinion reported in D.C., 187 F.Supp. 856, without giving the plaintiffs an opportunity to amend their complaint. The Court of Appeals, 2 Cir., 288 F.2d 504, 508 modified Judge Bartels' decision by permitting such amendment, so that the plaintiffs could "allege facts showing that Section 7421 is inapplicable to them." The plaintiffs in that case thereafter served and filed the amended complaint which is the subject of one of the motions herein.

The defendant, in both cases at bar, has repeated the arguments made before Judge Bartels and the Court of Appeals in the Botta case. Judge Moore's opinion in that case, reported in 288 F.2d 504, disposed of all of them when he decided that the plaintiffs there would be permitted to replead facts showing that Section 7421 of Title 26 U. S. Code was not applicable to them. That Section provides that "(a) Tax.—Except as provided in sections 6212(a) and (c), and 6213(a), no suit for the purpose of restraining the assessment or collection of any tax shall be maintained in any court."

Judge Moore pointed out that this prohibition was subject to various exceptions, and cited cases illustrating many of them. He stated in 288 F.2d at page 506 of his opinion: "The basis for the decision below was the injunctive bar of Section 7421. We had rather recently recognized that `it has long been settled that this general prohibition is subject to exception in the case of an individual taxpayer against a particular collector where the tax is clearly illegal or other special circumstances of an unusual character make an appeal to equitable remedies appropriate.' National Foundry Co. of N. Y. v. Director of Int. Rev., 2 Cir., 1956, 229 F.2d 149, 151."

He went on to say, at page 508, "Plaintiffs may or may not be able to allege facts showing that Section 7421 is inapplicable to them. However, a reasonable construction of the taxing statutes does not include vesting any tax official with absolute power of assessment against individuals not specified in the statutes as persons liable for the tax without an opportunity for judicial review of this status before the appellation of `taxpayer' is bestowed upon them and their...

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1 cases
  • Botta v. Scanlon
    • United States
    • U.S. Court of Appeals — Second Circuit
    • 18 d1 Fevereiro d1 1963 order of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York, Rayfiel, J., dismissing the appellants' complaint. 198 F.Supp. 899 (1961). On appeal from a prior dismissal of their complaint, 187 F.Supp. 856 (E.D.N.Y.1960), this court modified the order of the district co......

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