United States District Court, S.D. Illinois
May 3, 2005.
MICHAEL J. DAL COROBBO, Plaintiff,
INTERNAL REVENUE SERVICE, Defendant.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: DAVID HERNDON, District Judge
MEMORANDUM & ORDER
Before the Court is Defendant United States' motion to
reconsider this Court's Order of February 23, 2005 (Doc. 11). In
that Order, the Court dismissed Plaintiff's § 7433 claim but
retained Plaintiff's § 6511 claim (Doc. 8). Specifically,
Plaintiff's latter claim was retained because a Federal Claims
Court decision that dismissed this same claim in a separate suit
was not attached to Plaintiff's filed complaint (and thereby not
before this Court), as United States had suggested in its
original motion (Doc. 8, p. 4-5). However, United States now asks
this Court to reconsider its Order in light of the Federal Claims
Court decision that United States has attached to its motion to
reconsider (Doc. 11, Ex. 1, p. 16-17). For the following reasons,
the Court GRANTS Defendant's motion to reconsider and upon reconsideration GRANTS the request to dismiss Plaintiff's §
6511 claim (Doc. 11).
On August 19, 1997, Plaintiff began to serve time at Menard
Correctional Center (Doc. 1, p. 3). From the time he was
incarcerated until August 1999, Plaintiff claims he "was taking
medically prescribed psychotropic medication making him unable to
manage his financial affairs" (Doc. 1, p. 3). Beginning on
October 12, 1999, Plaintiff sent letters to the IRS requesting
information and forms to file his 1997 tax forms (Doc. 1, p. 3).
Plaintiff claims he sent eight similar letters between October
1999 and July 2001 until he finally received his requested forms
in September 2001 (Doc. 1, p. 3-4). Plaintiff claims that the IRS
received his 1040 form on October 3, 2001, but then responded on
December 28, 2001, that the form was filed too late (Doc. 1, p.
In January 2002, Plaintiff claims he appealed the decision to
the IRS' Chicago Appeals Office (Doc. 1, p. 4). Plaintiff then
explains that on July 1, 2002, he filed a suit in the U.S. Court
of Federal Claims that "was dismissed [in January 2003] as the
Court lacked jurisdiction resulting of torts [and] [c]laims under
§ 7433 may only be brought in the District Court" (Doc. 1, p. 4).
Plaintiff then filed a second appeal with the IRS on January
21, 2003, to which the IRS responded on March 4, 2003, as
We've not resolved this matter because we haven't
completed all processing necessary for a complete
response; however we will contact you again within
(45) days with our reply. (Doc. 1, p. 4). Plaintiff claims he sent additional
letters in May, July, and August of 2003, but has
still received no response from the IRS (Doc. 1, p.
Plaintiff filed the complaint in this action on December 16,
2003, asserting two claims (Doc. 1). First, Plaintiff requests he
be allowed under 26 U.S.C. § 6511 (a) and (h) to file his
1997 tax form and receive his $958.00 return for the 1997 tax
year (Doc. 1, p. 3). Second, Plaintiff requests compensation
under 26 U.S.C. § 7433 for damages suffered as a result of
torts committed by Defendant when he unsuccessfully attempted to
complete the refund process (Doc. 1, p. 3).
On February 23, 2005, the Court dismissed Plaintiff's § 7433
claim but retained Plaintiff's § 6511 claim (Doc. 8). The
latter claim was retained because an earlier Federal Claims Court
decision purportedly dismissing this same claim in a separate
suit was not attached to Plaintiff's filed complaint (and thereby
not before the Court), as United States had suggested in its
original motion to dismiss (Doc. 8, p. 4-5). While a copy of the
Federal Claims Court decision is not attached to Plaintiff's
complaint which was filed with this Court (Doc. 1), United States
asserts that Plaintiff served a copy of this decision as part of
his complaint (Doc. 11). A copy of the Federal Claims Court
decision is attached to United States' motion to reconsider (Doc.
11, Ex. 1, p. 16-17).
In Dal Corobbo v. United States, No. 02-758T (Fed.Cl. Feb.
5, 2003) (Hodges, J.), the Federal Claims Court dismissed with
prejudice a § 6511 (a) claim brought by Plaintiff because he
failed to bring his claim within the 3 year time period allowed
under that statute (Doc. 11, Ex. 1, p. 16-17). Plaintiff's §
6511 claims in both this court and in the Federal Claims Court concern
his 1997 tax return (Doc. 1; Doc. 11, Ex. 1, p. 16-17). The only
difference between Plaintiff's § 6511 claim in the Federal
Claims Court suit and in this suit is that the complaint in this
suit makes an additional reference to § 6511(h), a provision of
§ 6511 that stays the running of time during periods of
FEDERAL RULE OF CIVIL PROCEDURE 12(b)(6) allows a party to
move for dismissal based on "failure to state a claim upon which
relief can be granted." In ruling on a motion to dismiss, the
court "must accept well pled allegations of the complaint as
true. In addition, the court must view these allegations in the
light most favorable to the plaintiff." Gomez v. Illinois State
Bd. of Educ., 811 F.2d 1030, 1039 (7th Cir. 1987).
Although a complaint is generally not required to contain a
detailed outline of the claim's basis, it nevertheless "must
contain either direct or inferential allegations respecting all
the material elements necessary to sustain a recovery under some
viable legal theory." Car Carriers, Inc. v. Ford Motor, Co.,
745 F.2d 1101, 1106 (7th Cir. 1984).
The legal doctrine of collateral estoppel "ensures that `once
an issue is actually and necessarily determined by a court of
competent jurisdiction, that determination is conclusive in
subsequent suits based on a different cause of action involving a
party to the prior litigation." Chicago Truck Drivers v. Century
Motor Freight, Inc., 125 F.3d 526, 530 (7th Cir. 1997)
(quoting Montana v. United States, 440 U.S. 147, 153 (1979)). Collateral estoppel
applies to suits where "(1) the issue sought to be precluded is
the same as that involved in the prior action; (2) that issue was
actually litigated; (3) the determination of the issue was
essential to the final judgment; and (4) the party against whom
estoppel is invoked was fully represented in the prior action."
Id. (citing La Preferida, Inc. v. Cerveceria Modelo, S.A. de
C.V., 914 F.2d 900, 906 (7th Cir. 1990)).
Here, the Parties only dispute the first element, i.e., whether
the same issue is involved in both this suit and the earlier
Federal Claims Court suit. United States asserts that Plaintiff's
§ 6511 claim in this suit regarding his 1997 tax return is the
same as that addressed in Dal Corobbo v. United States, No.
02-758T (Fed.Cl. Feb. 5, 2003) (Hodges, J.) (Docs. 4, 11).
Plaintiff contends that the issue in this case is different
because he failed in the Federal Claims Court suit to raise the
question of whether § 6511(h)'s disability provision stayed the
time period for filing his § 6511 claim (Doc. 15).
The Court determines that collateral estoppel bars Plaintiff
from reasserting his § 6511 claim raised in this suit.
Plaintiff's § 6511 claim in this suit that regards his 1997 tax
return is clearly the same as his § 6511 claim in the Federal
Claims Court suit that also regarded his 1997 tax return. Both
claims involve the same statute (§ 6511) and the same facts
(Plaintiff's 1997 tax return). The only difference is that in
this suit Plaintiff raises the additional argument that §
6511(h) stayed the running of time during his period of
disability. Of course, Plaintiff's point regarding § 6511(h)
constitutes only a new argument, not a new issue, that regards the same time issue already addressed in
the Federal Claims Court suit and decision. For Plaintiff's §
6511(h) time argument to have been properly addressed, he would
have had to raise it when the Federal Claims Court addressed
whether he had brought his § 6511 claim in a timely fashion. If
courts allowed plaintiffs to refile suits simply because a new
argument later occurred to them (just as Plaintiff has tried
here), then litigation would almost never resolve.
The Court GRANTS Defendant's motion to reconsider and on
reconsideration GRANTS the request to dismiss Plaintiff's §
6511 claim (Doc. 11). The Court DISMISSES with prejudice
Plaintiff's § 6511 claim in this suit regarding his 1997 tax
return because the Federal Claims Court has already addressed
this exact issue in Dal Corobbo v. United States, No. 02-758T
(Fed.Cl. Feb. 5, 2003) (Hodges, J.), when it dismissed with
prejudice Plaintiff's § 6511 claim regarding his 1997 tax
return for being untimely filed.
IT IS SO ORDERED.
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