Cameron v. IRS

Decision Date25 September 1984
Docket NumberCiv. No. F 84-37.
Citation593 F. Supp. 1540
PartiesJohn B. CAMERON, Jr., Plaintiff, v. INTERNAL REVENUE SERVICE; John A. Dietrich; and William D. Whitesides, Defendants.
CourtU.S. District Court — Northern District of Indiana




John B. Cameron, Jr., pro se.

David H. Miller, Asst. U.S. Atty., Fort Wayne, Ind., Peter Sklarew, Trial Atty., Tax Div., Dept. of Justice, Washington, D.C., for defendants.


LEE, District Judge.

This matter is before the court on defendants' "Motion to Dismiss or for a More Definite Statement and for an Award of Attorneys' Fees and Costs" filed April 26, 1984, plaintiff's Motion for Summary Judgment filed March 22, 1984, and plaintiff's Motion to Lift the Stay of Proceedings entered April 30, 1984. For the following reasons, the court will grant defendants' Motion to Dismiss after its conversion into a motion for summary judgment, will grant defendants' motion for award of fees and costs, and will deny plaintiff's motions for summary judgment and lifting of the stay of proceedings.

Plaintiff is proceeding pro se. Pro se pleadings are to be liberally construed. Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 92 S.Ct. 594, 30 L.Ed.2d 652 (1972). This court also recognizes that federal courts have historically exercised great tolerance to insure that an impartial forum remains available to plaintiffs invoking the jurisdiction of the court without the guidance of trained counsel. Pro se complaints, such as plaintiff's, are held to less stringent pleading requirements; technical rigor in the examination of such pleadings is inappropriate.

In addition to the complaint, plaintiff has filed voluminous motions and other papers with the court. Liberally construing both the complaint and these numerous filings, it appears that plaintiff is seeking injunctive relief and damages against the Internal Revenue Service ("IRS") and its agents for attempts to assess taxes against him, for attempts to levy against plaintiff's wages and property, for treatment by various agents during plaintiff's attempts to get tax refunds or file returns, and for attempts to assess statutory penalties and interest against him. A succinct summary of plaintiff's various claims against the defendants can be made by breaking them down into two groups: (1) plaintiff believes the tax laws and IRS regulations do not apply to him because (a) the tax regulations are unconstitutional as a violation of the separation of powers between the branches of government; and (b) wages do not fall under the statutory provisions for income because they are part of an equal exchange of wages for services rendered, and thus have no element of profit or gain. The second group of claims alleges that the defendants acted wrongfully because (a) their actions denied plaintiff due process; (b) their actions violated plaintiff's first, fourth and fifth amendment rights; (c) defendants' assessments against plaintiff constituted a Bill of Attainder and/or Bill of Pains and Penalties in violation of the Constitution; (d) the forms used by the IRS are illegal and therefore void because they carry no Office of Management and Budget number and do not state whether filling out the form is voluntary or not; and (e) that the defendants acted in bad faith by scheduling meetings at inconvenient times and not keeping appointments. The jurisdiction for this complaint is alleged to rest on the following statutory provisions: 26 U.S.C. §§ 7421, 7425, 7428; 28 U.S.C. § 1340; and 42 U.S.C. §§ 1981, 1983, and 1986.

The defendants responded by filing a motion to dismiss. The motion has two major assertions: that none of the named parties can be sued; and that none of the various claims outlined above state a claim upon which relief can be granted. The motion also seeks fees and costs for defending this case.

Plaintiff has moved for summary judgment on the same basic grounds as alleged above. Plaintiff has also filed a motion to lift the stay of proceedings entered by this court on April 30, 1984.

The court begins by analyzing the motion to dismiss.


Although the defendants have characterized their motion as a motion to dismiss, it is clear that the issues presented by this motion are best addressed after reference is made to the exhibits and other pleadings in this case. When matters outside the pleadings are presented to and not excluded by the court, a motion to dismiss will be converted into a motion for summary judgment under Rule 56 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. See Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b).

Under Rule 56(c), summary judgment may only be granted if the "pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories and admissions on file, together with the affidavits, if any, show that there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and that the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law." Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c). Thus, summary judgment serves as a vehicle with which the court "can determine whether further exploration of the fact is necessary." Hahn v. Sargent, 523 F.2d 461, 464 (1st Cir.1975).

In making this determination, the court must keep in mind that the entry of summary judgment terminates the litigation, or an aspect thereof, and must draw all inferences from the established or asserted facts in favor of the non-moving party. Peoples Outfitting Co. v. General Electric Credit Corp., 549 F.2d 42 (7th Cir.1977). A party may not rest on the mere allegations of his pleadings or the bare contentions that an issue of fact exists. Posey v. Skyline Corp., 702 F.2d 102, 105 (7th Cir.1983). See Adickes v. S.H. Kress & Co., 398 U.S. 144, 90 S.Ct. 1598, 26 L.Ed.2d 142 (1970). See generally C. Wright, Law of Federal Courts, § 99 (4th ed. 1983); 6 Moore's Federal Practice, § 56.15 (2d ed. 1983).

Thus, the moving party must demonstrate the absence of a genuine issue of material fact. The court views all evidence submitted in favor of the non-moving party. Even if there are some disputed facts, where the undisputed facts are the material facts involved and those facts show one party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law, summary judgment is appropriate. Egger v. Phillips, 710 F.2d 292, 296-97 (7th Cir.1983); Collins v. American Optometric Ass'n., 693 F.2d 636, 639 (7th Cir.1982). Further, if the court resolves all factual disputes in favor of the non-moving party and still finds summary judgment in favor of the moving party is correct as a matter of law, then the moving party is entitled to summary judgment in his favor. Egger, 710 F.2d at 297. See also Bishop v. Wood, 426 U.S. 341, 348, 348 n. 11, 96 S.Ct. 2074, 2079, 2079 n. 11, 48 L.Ed.2d 684 (1976).

Although not raised by the defendants directly in their motion, the court turns first to the issue of whether a proper basis of jurisdiction exists for hearing this cause. Because of the limited nature of a district court's jurisdiction, the court may inquire into its jurisdiction sua sponte. Rice v. Rice Foundation, 610 F.2d 471 (7th Cir.1979).

A. Jurisdiction

Plaintiff asserts a total of seven bases for jurisdiction: 28 U.S.C. § 1340, a general jurisdiction statute; 26 U.S.C. §§ 7421, 7425, and 7428, which are all provisions of the Internal Revenue Code; and 42 U.S.C. §§ 1981, 1983, and 1986, all provisions of the Civil Rights Act. The court will analyze these bases in turn.

1. General Jurisdiction

The general jurisdiction statute offered by plaintiff, 28 U.S.C. § 1340, provides:

The district court shall have original jurisdiction of any civil action arising under any Act of Congress providing for internal revenue, or revenue from imports or tonnage except matters within the jurisdiction of the Court of International Trade.

The question of whether plaintiff can rely on this provision as a basis for jurisdiction hinges on whether this statute itself provides plaintiff with a cause of action.

The very language of the statute militates against such a construction. Section 1340 gives jurisdiction for an action arising under the Internal Revenue laws; as such, the suit must be based on some cause of action which the Internal Revenue Code recognizes and allows the plaintiff to bring. Absent some recognition of this kind of suit under the Internal Revenue Code, however, § 1340 will not create an independent basis for jurisdiction. Rather, § 1340 is designed merely to give a district court jurisdiction should it find a separate basis for the claim. As one court has noted, "Given the limitations which Article III of the Constitution places on the jurisdiction of the federal courts, it is doubtful that the various jurisdictional statutes like § 1340 could do more than waive the congressionally imposed jurisdictional amount requirement." Crown Cork & Seal Co. v. Pennsylvania Human Relations Comm., 463 F.Supp. 120, 127 n. 8 (E.D.Pa.1979).

It appears that this case does not arise under the Internal Revenue Code. Plaintiff does not seek either to enforce any provision of the Code or to pursue a statutory remedy under the Code. (See "Plaintiff's Answer and Rebuttal to Defendants Motion to Dismiss" ¶ 10"this is not a tax refund suit"). True, the plaintiff does cite some statutory provisions as being violated (see Complaint ¶ 7.0, referring to 26 U.S.C. § 6001, that only Secretary of Treasury may assess taxes against him; Plaintiff's Answer and Rebuttal to Defendants Motion to Dismiss, ¶ 12, referring to § 3401, that plaintiff is not an employee as defined by the Code, and ¶ 18, referring to a non-existent § 1746, that no one is required to file a tax return unwillingly). However, those references are not bases for a claim, but rather are offered to prove plaintiff's more general argument that the Internal Revenue Code does not apply to him at all. In fact, the whole thrust of plaintiff's case is that he is outside the scope of the Code so that the actions of the defendants are violations of his...

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