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May v. United States

United States District Court, W.D. Missouri, Central Division

October 16, 2017

JOSEPH ALLEN MAY, D.D.S., Plaintiff,
v.
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, et al., Defendants.

          ORDER

          NANETTE K. LAUGHREY UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         This is a case brought under 26 U.S.C. § 7431 by Plaintiff Joseph Allen May, D.D.S., pro se, who seeks damages and penalties from the Defendants for making allegedly unauthorized disclosures of his tax information as defined in 26 U.S.C. § 6103. The Defendants are the United States of America, the Internal Revenue Service, IRS Special Agent Joel Wilson, and Unknown IRS agents, as well as Melanie Moffat, an attorney. Moffat moves under Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6) for dismissal of the claims against her. Doc. 8. The motion is granted.

         I. Background

         Plaintiff was formerly married to Anna Mae Pon May. Plaintiff alleges that in 2012, during the parties' dissolution proceeding, Mrs. May reported to the IRS that Plaintiff had forged her signature on a tax form. The IRS performed a criminal investigation, but nothing ultimately came of it.

         Defendant Moffat represented Mrs. May in the dissolution. The substantive allegations against Moffat contained in the Complaint are set out here in their entirety:

18. Defendant, Melanie Moffat, published part of the Plaintiff's 2014 tax return on August 27, 2015 where Melanie Moffat identified the document as part of the Plaintiff's tax return. This document contained tax return information as defined in 26 USC 6103 and appeared to be an unauthorized disclosure by this Defendant.
19. Cole County Circuit Court records of Jefferson City, Missouri revealed over 10 people requested copies of this document and such document remains unsealed at this date by the Cole county Circuit court.
20. SA Wilson and other agents refused to prosecute Defendant Melanie Moffat for making unauthorized disclosures of tax information as defined in 26 USC 6103.
45. [] (a) There are over ten requests for copies of a pleading filed by Melanie Moffat where part of Plaintiff's 2014 tax return was attached to the pleading to degrade or demonize the Plaintiff in violation of Title 26 USC § 7431 (civil) and 7213….

Doc. 1, pp. 4 and 11.

         II. Discussion

         Moffat makes two arguments in support of her motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim. She argues that § 6103's prohibition against disclosure of a “return” does not apply to her because Plaintiff does not and cannot allege that she obtained the tax return from the IRS. She also argues that she is not within the class of persons to whom § 6103's prohibitions on disclosure apply. As discussed below, Moffat is entitled to dismissal based on the first argument, and the Court therefore need not address the second one.

         For purposes of deciding a motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim, a court accepts the factual allegations contained in the complaint as true. Eckert v. Titan Tire Corp. 514 F.3d 801, 806 (8th Cir. 2008). To survive a motion to dismiss, the complaint must contain “enough facts to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678, (2009) (quoting Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007)). A complaint is plausible if its “factual content allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged.” Braden v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., 588 F.3d 585, 594 (8th Cir. 2009) (quoting Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678). A complaint that offers labels, bare assertions, and “[t]hreadbare recitals of the elements of a cause of action, supported by mere conclusory statements, ” is insufficient to avoid dismissal. Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678. See also Schooley v. Kennedy, 712 F.2d 372, 373 (8th Cir. 1983) (“Although pro se pleadings are to be construed liberally, pro se litigants are to not excused from compliance with relevant rules of the procedural and substantive law.”).

         A. ...


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