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United States v. Jones

United States District Court, D. Minnesota

May 14, 2015

United States of America, Plaintiff,
v.
Mark W. Jones, Defendant.

Erin Lindgren, for Plaintiff.

Mark Jones, pro se, for Defendant.

REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION AND ORDER

FRANKLIN L. NOEL, Magistrate Judge.

THIS MATTER came before the undersigned United States Magistrate Judge on Plaintiff's motion to compel discovery responses (ECF No. 28), Defendant's motion to dismiss (ECF No. 39), and Plaintiff's motion for an extension of time to complete discovery (ECF No. 47). Defendant's motion to dismiss was referred to the undersigned for Report and Recommendation pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636 and Local Rule 72.1. Order, ECF No. 35. For the reasons set forth below, Plaintiff's motion to compel is GRANTED in part and DENIED in part, Plaintiff's motion for an extension of time to complete discovery is GRANTED, and the Court recommends that Defendant's motion to dismiss be DENIED.

I. FINDINGS OF FACT

The United States alleges that Defendant Mark W. Jones did not timely file federal income tax returns for tax years 1997-2001 and 2003-2006. Compl. ¶ 10, ECF No. 1. According to the United States, in July 2002 Jones sent documents purporting to be returns for tax years 1997-2001 to the IRS. Id. ¶ 11. The IRS identified these documents as frivolous because (1) they reported $0.00 for each line of income, despite Jones receiving wage income during each year, and (2) Jones attached to the returns documents stating his belief that he was not personally liable for income taxes and that wages do not constitute income. Id. ¶¶ 12-13.

In July 2002, the IRS assessed frivolous return penalties pursuant to I.R.C. § 6702(a) against Jones for tax years 1997-2000 based on the documents Jones submitted. Id. ¶ 14. In June 2004, Jones sent another document purporting to be a return for the 2003 tax year, which the IRS again assessed as frivolous because (1) although Jones reported that he received income for 2003, he did not self-assess any tax due on the income he received, and (2) he included a document stating that he did not believe he was personally liable for income taxes and did not believe that wages constitute income. Id. ¶¶ 15-16. Based on these documents, the IRS assessed a frivolous return penalty under I.R.S. § 6702(a) against Jones for the 2003 tax year. Id. ¶ 17. Due to Jones's improper tax returns, a delegate of the Secretary of the Treasury made federal income tax assessments, plus assessment of interest and penalties, against Jones for tax years 1997-2001 and 2003-2006. Id. ¶ 18.

On January 23, 2014, the United States filed the present case to reduce to judgment the federal income tax and federal civil penalty assessments made against Jones, and to enforce the United States' federal tax liens against Jones's real property in Dakota County, Minnesota. See generally id.; see also Pl.'s Opp'n Mem. 1, ECF No. 43. An initial pretrial conference was held on August 15, 2014 and a Scheduling Order was issued on August 21, 2014. See Minutes, ECF No. 14; Order, ECF No. 15. Pursuant to the Scheduling Order, initial disclosures required by Rule 26(a) were due on or before August 22, 2014 and discovery is to be completed by June 1, 2015. Id. at 1.

On October 7, 2014, the United States served discovery requests upon Jones, including interrogatories, requests for admission, and requests for production of documents. Lindgren Decl. ¶ 4, ECF No. 32. On November 10, 2014, Jones served responses to the United States' requests for admission; he did not, however, provide initial disclosures, answers to interrogatories, or responses to the request for production. Id. ¶ 8. Jones terminated the services of his attorney on November 20, 2014, and did not retain substitute counsel. Id. ¶ 9. Due to this change, the United States extended Jones's deadline to respond to the United States' discovery requests to December 10, 2014. Id. ¶ 10. However, Jones has yet to provide his initial disclosures, answers to interrogatories, or responses to the request for production. Id. ¶ 16. The Government now moves to compel these discovery responses. ECF No. 28. In response, Jones moved to dismiss the Complaint due to no jurisdictional authority. ECF No. 39.

II. STANDARD OF REVIEW

Federal courts are not courts of general jurisdiction and have only the power that is authorized by Article III of the Constitution and the statutes enacted by Congress pursuant thereto. See Marine Equip. Mgmt. Co. v. United States, 4 F.3d 643, 646 (8th Cir. 1993). A federal court has a duty to inquire whether the vital prerequisite of subject matter jurisdiction has been satisfied. See Bradley v. Am. Postal Workers Union, AFL-CIO, 962 F.2d 800, 802 n.3 (8th Cir. 1992). When it appears the court lacks jurisdiction, jurisdiction may not be waived. See Agrashell Inc. v. Hammons Prods. Co., 352 F.2d 446, 447 (8th Cir. 1965). The Plaintiff bears the burden of establishing that subject matter jurisdiction is appropriate. V S Ltd. P'ship v. Dep't of Hous. & Urban Dev., 235 F.3d 1109, 1112 (8th Cir. 2000).

III. LEGAL ANALYSIS

The United States filed this action against Jones pursuant to 26 U.S.C. §§ 7401 and 7403. Jones argues that this case should be dismissed because "[t]his declaration of authority is in conflict with C.F.R. Index of Authorities which lists the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms as the regulatory and rule making' agency.... Congress intended liens and levies to apply exclusively to Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms." ECF No. 39. Additionally, Jones claims that he has no liability for federal individual income taxes and this case conflicts with Article I, §§ 2 and 9 of the ...


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