Mamedova v. United States of America
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER granting 8 Motion to Dismiss for Lack of Jurisdiction. So Ordered by Chief Judge William E. Smith on 11/30/2017. (Jackson, Ryan)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE DISTRICT OF RHODE ISLAND
SAIDA E. MAMEDOVA,
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,
C.A. No. 17-188-WES
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
WILLIAM E. SMITH, Chief Judge.
Before the Court is Defendant United States of America’s
Motion to Dismiss.
(ECF No. 8.)
Plaintiff, Saida E. Mamedova,
brought a wrongful levy action, pursuant to 26 U.S.C. § 7426(a)(1),
placed a levy on her property for unpaid taxes.
For the reasons
set forth below, Defendant’s motion is GRANTED.
On May 2, 2011 and June 18, 2012, the IRS made income tax
assessments for unpaid taxes 1 against Plaintiff and her husband,
Vadym Huzenko, for the 2009 and 2010 tax years in the amounts of
In her Complaint, Plaintiff alleges that she did not file
joint tax returns with her husband for the 2009 and 2010 tax years,
and further, that the IRS determined she did not sign the returns
and she was not required to file returns for those years. (Am.
Compl. 2, ECF No. 6.)
$234,651.75 and $32,124.02, respectively.
(Am. Compl. 1; Account
Tr. Ex. A, ECF No. 8-2; Account Tr. Ex. B, ECF No. 8-2.)
requested Innocent Spouse Relief from the IRS for the 2009 tax
year, which was denied on July 21, 2014.
She petitioned the United
States Tax Court (“Tax Court”) for a redetermination on October
(Pet. 1 Ex. B, ECF No. 12-2.)
On December 7, 2015, the
Tax Court denied Plaintiff’s petition (the “Decision”).
v. Comm’r, No. 25022-14, slip op. at 1 (T.C. Dec. 7, 2015); (Tax
Court Decision Ex. C, ECF No. 12-3).
The Decision stated that
“[p]ursuant to the agreement of the parties in this case, it is
ORDERED AND DECIDED: That [Plaintiff] is not entitled to relief
under I.R.C. § 6015(f) with respect to her income tax liability
for the taxable year 2009.”
Mamedova, No. 25022-14 at 1-2.
With the 2009 and 2010 taxes still unpaid, the IRS issued
Plaintiff and her husband a Notice of Federal Tax Lien Filing on
March 28, 2017.
(Am. Compl. Ex. B.)
On April 17, 2017, the IRS
issued a levy against Plaintiff and her husband for unpaid taxes
for the years 2009 and 2010 on their property located at Florida
Community Bank in Immokalee, Florida. (Am. Compl. Ex. A.) Seeking
relief from the levy, Plaintiff brought this wrongful levy action
pursuant to 26 U.S.C. § 7426(a)(1).
A. Sovereign Immunity
Defendant has moved to dismiss for lack of jurisdiction,
arguing that Defendant has not waived sovereign immunity for
(United States’ Mot. To Dismiss 1, ECF No. 8.)
“Absent a waiver, sovereign immunity shields the Federal
Government and its agencies from suit.”
F.D.I.C. v. Meyer, 510
U.S. 471, 475 (1994) (citing Loeffler v. Frank, 486 U.S. 549, 554
(1988); Fed. Hous. Admin. v. Burr, 309 U.S. 242, 244 (1940)).
“Sovereign immunity is jurisdictional in nature.
‘terms of [the United States’] consent to be sued in any court
define that court’s jurisdiction to entertain the suit.’”
(alteration in original) (quoting United States v. Sherwood, 312
U.S. 584, 586 (1941)).
“It is axiomatic that the United States
may not be sued without its consent and that the existence of
consent is a prerequisite for jurisdiction.”
Id. (quoting United
States v. Mitchell, 463 U.S. 206, 212 (1983)).
“Waivers of the
United States v. Nordic Vill. Inc.,
503 U.S. 30, 33 (1992) (quoting Irwin v. Dep’t of Veterans Affairs,
498 U.S. 89, 95 (1990)).
“[T]he Government’s consent to be sued
‘must be “construed strictly in favor of the sovereign,” and not
“enlarge[d] . . . beyond what the language requires[.]”’”
Plaintiff’s wrongful levy claim is brought pursuant to 26
U.S.C. § 7426(a)(1).
Section 7426(a)(1) states: “[i]f a levy has
been made on property . . . any person (other than the person
against whom is assessed the tax out of which such levy arose) who
claims an interest in or lien on such property and that such
property was wrongfully levied upon may bring a civil action
against the United States in a district court of the United
The IRS assessed and issued a levy
against Plaintiff for unpaid taxes for the 2009 and 2010 tax years,
as evidenced by Plaintiff’s name appearing alongside her husband’s
name on the IRS account transcripts for the 2009 and 2010 tax
(Account Tr. Ex. A; Account Tr. Ex. B.)
is undoubtedly “the person against whom is assessed the tax out of
which such levy arose” and outside the statutory waiver.
U.S.C. § 7426(a)(1); see also Komlo v. United States, 657 F. App’x
85, 88 (3d Cir. 2016) (affirming district court’s dismissal on the
basis of sovereign immunity for plaintiff’s wrongful levy claim
[plaintiff] [was] the ‘person against whom’ the IRS ‘assessed the
tax’ giving rise to the levy at issue”) (quoting § 7426(a)).
Plaintiff argues that she is not the person against whom the
tax is assessed as she reached an agreement with the IRS that she
did not jointly file tax returns with her husband in 2009 and 2010,
and she argues that she did not otherwise have any income in those
(Mem. in Supp. of the Pl.’s Resp. to the United States
Mot. To Dismiss 1, ECF No. 10.)
Plaintiff cites only the Decision
of the Tax Court on Plaintiff’s petition to receive Innocent Spouse
Relief for the 2009 tax year as evidence of this agreement.
While the Decision states that Plaintiff and the IRS reached an
See Mamedova, No. 25022-14 at 1–2.
However, the agreement noted in the Decision is beside the
agreement with the IRS as true, Plaintiff is attempting to show
impermissible under § 7426.
See Shannon v. United States, 521
F.2d 56, 59 (9th Cir. 1975) (“one who sues under [section] 7426
cannot challenge the validity of the assessment”).
In § 7426
actions, the tax assessment is “conclusively presumed to be valid.”
See 26 U.S.C. § 7426(c) (“For purposes of an adjudication under
this section, the assessment of tax upon which the interest or
lien of the United States is based shall be conclusively presumed
challenging the validity of the tax assessment made against her
and requires the Court to accept the tax assessments as valid.
See Shannon, 521 F.2d at 59 n.9 (“once the assessment is made, the
individual assessed is barred from challenging the validity of the
plaintiff’s argument that plaintiff was not a person assessed a
tax by the IRS by allegedly paying outstanding deficiencies after
an assessment was entered against the plaintiff because “in the
adjudication of a wrongful levy claim, the underlying assessment
‘shall be conclusively presumed to be valid’” (citing 26 U.S.C.
assessments made against Plaintiff as presumptively valid pursuant
to § 7426(c).
Accepting the tax assessments against Plaintiff as valid
pursuant to § 7426(c), Plaintiff is clearly a person against whom
the tax is assessed out of which the levy arose, and, as discussed
above, Defendant has not waived sovereign immunity for this claim.
Thus, this Court lacks jurisdiction to hear Plaintiff’s wrongful
levy action pursuant to 26 U.S.C. § 7426(a)(1).
B. Anti-Injunction Act
Defendant argues that Plaintiff’s claim is barred by the AntiInjunction Act, 26 U.S.C. § 7421(a), which states: “[e]xcept as
provided in sections 6015(e), 6212(a) and (c), 6213(a), 6225(b),
(b)(1), 7429(b), and 7436, 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.”
(Mem. in Supp. of United
States’ Mot. To Dismiss 3-4, ECF No. 8-1 (quoting 26 U.S.C.
§ 7421(a)).) Because the Court holds it does not have jurisdiction
to consider this claim, it does not reach this issue.
Dismiss (ECF No. 8) is GRANTED.
IT IS SO ORDERED.
William E. Smith
Date: November 30, 2017
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