SHERIDAN v. THE UNITED STATES
MEMORANDUM AND/OR OPINION. SIGNED BY HONORABLE RONALD L. BUCKWALTER ON 6/4/2013. 6/4/2013 ENTERED AND COPIES MAILED TO PRO SE, E-MAILED.(kp, )
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE EASTERN DISTRICT OF PENNSYLVANIA
THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
June 4, 2013
Currently pending before the Court is the United States’ Motion to Dismiss Plaintiff
Timothy Sheridan’s Complaint. For the following reasons, the Motion is granted.
FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND
Timothy Sheridan is a pro se Plaintiff who is suing the United States to enjoin the Internal
Revenue Service (“IRS”) from auditing him and collecting prior owed taxes as well as to
compensate him for misappropriated money. The facts, as taken based on the Court’s best
reading of his Complaint, are as follows. Mr. Sheridan is the owner of a patent for a modern
vaporizer. (Compl. at 3.) Mr. Sheridan alleges that his patented vaporizer design was infringed
upon and that he suffered large economic losses as a result. (Id.) Mr. Sheridan claims that the
IRS has collected 99.9% of the income owed to him because of his vaporizer (twenty billion
dollars), thus violating his property rights. (Id. at 3, 5.) This loss of property has subsequently
caused him life threatening stress and chronic post traumatic health effects. (Id. at 5.) Mr.
Sheridan asks the Court to (1) grant an injunction against the IRS from taking “unreasonable
actions against [him];” (2) grant “[e]stoppel of adverse actions by the IRS and people, including
suits and attacks on my business;” (3) provide “[a]cknowlede[ment of] the ‘reasonable estimate
of loss’ provided to the IRS . . . as massive and overwhelming;” and (4) to “[c]ompel the IRS to
return the misappropriated funds which were owed to plaintiff's property of patent.”
On February 12, 2013, Mr. Sheridan filed suit in this Court. The United States filed a
Motion to Dismiss the Complaint on April 15, 2013. Mr. Sheridan filed a Response in
Opposition on April 29, 2013, and the United States filed a Reply Brief on May 9. The Court
will now consider the merits of the Motions.
STANDARD OF REVIEW
A motion to dismiss pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(1) challenges the
power of a federal court to hear a claim or a case. Gould Elecs., Inc. v. United States, 220 F.3d
169, 178 (3d Cir. 2000). When presented with a Rule 12(b)(1) motion, the plaintiff “will have
the burden of proof that jurisdiction does in fact exist.” Petruska v. Gannon Univ., 462 F.3d 294,
302 (3d Cir. 2006).
There are two types of Rule 12(b)(1) motions. A “facial” attack assumes that the
allegations of the complaint are true, but contends that the pleadings fail to present an action
within the court’s jurisdiction. Mortensen v. First Fed. Sav. & Loan Ass’n, 549 F.2d 884, 891
(3d Cir. 1977). If the complaint is deficient as pled, the court should grant leave to amend before
dismissing it with prejudice. Shane v. Fauver, 213 F.3d 113, 116-17 (3d Cir. 2000). The motion
should only be granted if it appears with certainty that assertion of jurisdiction would be
improper. Carpet Grp. Int’l v. Oriental Rug Imps. Ass’n, Inc., 227 F.3d 62, 69 (3d Cir. 2000).
The second form of a Rule 12(b)(1) motion is a “factual” attack, which argues that, while
the pleadings themselves facially establish jurisdiction, one or more of the factual allegations is
untrue thereby causing the case to fall outside the court’s jurisdiction. Mortensen, 549 F.2d at
891. In such a case, the court must evaluate the merits of the disputed allegations because “the
trial court’s . . . very power to hear the case” is at issue. Id.; Carpet Grp., 227 F.3d at 69.
The United States moves to dismiss Mr. Sheridan’s Complaint as being barred by the
Anti-Injunction Act, 26 U.S.C. § 7421(a). The Act states, “no suit for the purpose of restraining
the assessment or collection of any tax shall be maintained in any court by any person, whether or
not such person is the person against whom such tax was assessed.” There is one judicially
created exception to the Act, which provides that “an injunction may be obtained against the
collection of any tax if (1) it is ‘clear that under no circumstances could the government
ultimately prevail’ and (2) ‘equity jurisdiction’ otherwise exists, i.e., the taxpayer shows that he
would otherwise suffer irreparable injury.” Commissioner v. Shapiro, 424 U.S. 614, 627 (1976)
(quoting Enochs v. Williams Packing & Navigation Co., 370 U.S. 1, 7 (1962)); see also Flynn v.
United States, 786 F.2d 586, 589 (3d Cir.1986).
Mr. Sheridan’s case must be dismissed because he has not met either requirement of the
exception. Even after taking every inference in favor of Mr. Sheridan—particularly due to his
status as a pro se Plaintiff—he has not demonstrated in his Complaint or his Response in
Opposition to the United States’ Motion that it is clear the United States could not prevail or that
equity jurisdiction exists. With regards to the first prong, in which the facts must be taken in a
light most favorable to the government, Mr. Sheridan has simply not provided enough
information to show that under no circumstances would the United States prevail. Mr.
Sheridan’s failure to meet the second prong is of even more significance. Mr. Sheridan cannot
demonstrate equity jurisdiction because he has failed to challenge the IRS’s decision by filing a
refund claim with the Service as required by 26 U.S.C. § 7422(a). This section provides:
No suit or proceeding shall be maintained in any court for the recovery of any
internal revenue tax alleged to have been erroneously or illegally assessed or
collected, or of any penalty claimed to have been collected without authority, or of
any sum alleged to have been excessive or in any manner wrongfully collected, until
a claim for refund or credit has been duly filed with the Secretary, according to the
provisions of law in that regard, and the regulations of the Secretary established in
Id. Because there is no indication that Mr. Sheridan has filed such a claim with the service, this
Court cannot find that equitable jurisdiction exists.
In light of the foregoing, the United States Motion to Dismiss is granted. Because Mr.
Sheridan has a statutory recourse available to him, and there is no reason to believe that giving
leave to amend would not be futile, the Complaint is dismissed with prejudice.
An appropriate Order follows.
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