United States District Court, D. Colorado
JEFFREY T. MAEHR, Plaintiff,
UNITED STATES, Defendant.
A. BRIMMER, CHIEF UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
matter is before the Court on the magistrate judge's
Report and Recommendation on Plaintiff's Opposed Motion
for Preliminary Injunction (Dkt. #45) and Defendant's
Renewed Motion to Dismiss (Dkt. #82) [Docket No. 94] entered
on August 1, 2019. Magistrate Judge N. Reid Neureiter
recommends that plaintiff's motion for a preliminary
injunction [Docket No. 45] be denied and defendant's
motion to dismiss [Docket No. 82] be granted. Docket No. 94
at 1. Plaintiff filed Objections to Recommendations [Docket
No. 96] on August 12, 2019. Defendant responded on August 26,
2019. Docket No. 99.
background facts and procedural history in this case are set
out in the magistrate judge's recommendation and will not
be repeated unless necessary for purposes of this order. For
the last several years, plaintiff has attempted many times to
challenge the IRS's implementation of tax assessments
against him for the 2003-06 tax years. See Maehr v.
United States, 137 Fed.Cl. 805, 807 (2018) (setting out
some of plaintiff's prior court proceedings). Plaintiff
has now filed another lawsuit challenging defendant's
ability to garnish his social security payments to pay for
his tax delinquencies. See Docket No. 70 at 5-6,
¶¶ 17-20. He appears to seek compensatory and
punitive damages, fees, and costs under the Equal Access to
Justice Act, 28 U.S.C. § 2412, and fair compensation for
the deprivation of his rights. Docket No. 70 at 8, ¶ 27;
at 9, ¶¶ 29-30. Plaintiff also seeks a preliminary
injunction ordering “the immediate stay of garnishment
of all social security funds.” Docket No. 45 at 2.
Defendant filed a motion to dismiss plaintiff's claims.
Docket No. 82.
Judge Neureiter recommends that defendant's motion to
dismiss be granted, the preliminary injunction motion be
denied, and the case be dismissed without prejudice. Docket
No. 94 at 13. Plaintiff objects to the magistrate judge's
recommendations. Docket No. 96.
STANDARD OF REVIEW
Court must “determine de novo any part of the
magistrate judge's disposition that has been properly
objected to.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 72(b)(3). An objection is
“proper” if it is both timely and specific.
United States v. One Parcel of Real Property Known as
2121 East 30th St., 73 F.3d 1057, 1059 (10th Cir. 1996).
A specific objection “enables the district judge to
focus attention on those issues - factual and legal - that
are at the heart of the parties' dispute.”
Id. In the absence of a proper objection, the Court
reviews the magistrate judge's recommendation to satisfy
itself that there is “no clear error on the face of the
record.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 72(b), Advisory Committee
Notes. Because plaintiff is proceeding pro se, the Court will
construe his objection and pleadings liberally without
serving as his advocate. See Hall v. Bellmon, 935
F.2d 1106, 1110 (10th Cir. 1991).
Defendant's Motion to Dismiss
magistrate judge recommends that the Court dismiss
plaintiff's claims without prejudice for lack of subject
matter jurisdiction. Docket No. 94 at 9. The magistrate judge
found that plaintiff's lawsuit is an improper collateral
attack on a final judgment issued by the Tax Court, and that
plaintiff cannot now relitigate in district court the issues
already adjudicated. Id. at 8-9. Specifically, the
magistrate judge found that plaintiff's suit is precluded
by 26 U.S.C. § 6512(a), which “bars a suit for
refund involving a tax year for which a Tax Court petition
contesting a deficiency determination has been filed.”
Smith v. United States, 495 Fed.Appx. 44, 48 (10th
Cir. 2012) (unpublished); see also Docket No. 94 at
7. On May 9, 2011, plaintiff filed a petition in Tax Court
challenging his tax assessments for the years 2003-06. Docket
No. 82-1 at 2-3. The Tax Court made findings as to
plaintiff's tax deficiencies for those years and
dismissed his petition for failure to state a claim.
Id. at 3. The Tax Court's decision was affirmed
by the Tenth Circuit. Maehr v. C.I.R., 480 Fed.Appx.
921 (10th Cir. 2012) (unpublished).
raises several objections to the magistrate judge's
recommendation. See Docket No. 96. He argues that
(1) there is no indication that any of the evidence he
submitted in his past cases challenging the tax assessments
was “actually adjudicated” and there was no
evidence presented that he actually owed a debt, id.
at 1-2, 3; (2) the court judgments referenced by the
magistrate judge are void due to fraud on the courts,
id. at 2-3; and (3) defendant has not presented
evidence that, in his prior cases, plaintiff received due
process of law or that the “courts even had
Plaintiff's evidence in their court at all, ”
id. at 3.
objections are without merit. To the extent that plaintiff
attempts to challenge the sufficiency of the evidence in
judgments rendered in other court cases, this is an improper
ground on which to base his objection to the magistrate
judge's recommendation. Such an argument should have been
made to the Tax Court or on appeal of that court's
decision. See Michelson v. United States, 1993 WL
313229, at *2 (D.N.M. May 3, 1993) (finding that the
plaintiff's “claims that . . . the Tax Court
proceedings violated his Constitutional rights . . . should
have [been] raised . . . in the Tax Court itself or with the
Court of Appeals”); Springer v. Shern, 2011 WL
2971172, at *3 (N.D. Okla. July 20, 2011) (“In the tax
context, a final decision of the Tax Court is res
judicata as to the tax liability determined by that
court, and is not subject to collateral attack in a later
proceeding.”); see also Maehr v. C.I.R., 480
Fed.Appx. at 923 (stating that plaintiff's
“petition raises no genuine challenge to the notices of
deficiency because [his] arguments have been repeatedly
rejected by this court”).
as plaintiff argues that these court judgments are void due
to a “violation of due process of law, general fraud,
and fraud on the court itself, ” Docket No. 96 at 4,
this argument is conclusory, insufficiently specific, and
points to no clear error on the face of the record. There is
no basis to find that the court judgments are void. See
Jenkins v. Duffy Crane and Hauling, Inc., No.
13-cv-00327-CMA-KLM, 2013 WL 6728892, at *3 (D. Colo. Dec.
20, 2013) (quoting O'Leary v. Liberty Mut. Ins.
Co., 923 F.2d 1062, 1066 (3d Cir. 1991) (“A
judgment is ‘valid' when it has been rendered by a
court of competent subject matter jurisdiction and the party
against whom judgment is rendered either has submitted to the
jurisdiction of the court or has been afforded adequate
notice.”)). Plaintiff has not alleged that the prior
courts lacked subject matter jurisdiction or alleged that he
was not afforded adequate notice in those cases. Any
challenge to the validity of the numerous court judgments
confirming plaintiff's tax liabilities is unavailing.
plaintiff's focus on whether defendant proved he received
due process in his other court proceedings or whether those
courts considered plaintiff's evidence is misplaced. Even
if plaintiff could raise arguments here as to alleged due
process violations in other cases, it is plaintiff's
burden to identify and prove the existence of the rights that
he alleges the ...