United States District Court, E.D. Virginia, Richmond Division
HANNAH LAUCK, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
matter comes before the Court on three motions filed by
Defendant Lewis F. Carter: (1) Carter's "Motion to
Alter or Amend the Order of the Court" pursuant to
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 59(e) (the "Motion to Alter
or Amend"), (ECF No. 99); (2) Carter's "Motion
by New Evidence to Void Judgment for Lack of Subject-Matter
Jurisdiction of the District Court to Enforce Plaintiffs
Assessments of a Direct and Unapportioned Tax on Income under
Article I, Section 8 Authorities as Erroneously Done by the
Court; and for Fraud Upon the Court" pursuant to Federal
Rules of Civil Procedure 60(b)(3), (4), and (6) and
60(d)(3) (the "First Motion to Void"),
(ECF No. 104); and, (3) Carter's "Motion to Void
Judgment for Lack of Subject-Matter Jurisdiction of the
District Court to Enforce a Judgment Allegedly Rendered under
Article I, Section 8 Authority; for a Non-Geographically
Uniform Tax on Income Enforced in Violation of Article I,
Section 8, Clause 1 of the U.S. Constitution" (the
"Second Motion to Void"), (ECF No.
106). The Motion to Alter or Amend and the
Motions to Void seek to invalidate the Court's December
31, 2015 Final Order granting summary judgment to the United
States of America.(ECF No. 56).
Court dispenses with oral argument because the materials
before it adequately present the facts and legal contentions,
and argument would not aid the decisional process. Because
Carter fails to establish a basis for relief under any of the
procedural rules he invokes, and because he has filed the
motions beyond any applicable statute of limitations, the
Court will deny all of Carter's motions.
has sought dismissal of this action numerous times. On
December 31, 2015, the Court granted the United States'
Motion for Summary Judgment (the "Summary Judgment
Opinion") (Dec. 31, 2015 Mem. Op., ECF No. 55; Final O.,
ECF No. 56.) On January 20, 2016, Carter submitted two
Motions to Alter or Amend the Judgment, (ECF Nos. 77, 78),
and a Motion to Void the Order of the Court, (ECF No. 80)
(the "First Set of Reconsideration Motions"). On
April 29, 2016, the Court issued a Memorandum Opinion and
Final Order denying Carter's First Set of Reconsideration
Motions. (ECF Nos. 84, 85.)
April 19, 2017, Carter filed the Motion to Alter or Amend.
(ECF No. 99.) On January 8, 2018, Carter filed the First
Motion to Void, (ECF No. 104), and on February 20, 2018,
Carter filed the Second Motion to Void, (ECF No. 106),
(collectively, the "Second Set of Reconsideration
Motions). In the Second Set of Reconsideration Motions,
Carter reiterates his unsuccessful argument that this Court
lacks subject matter jurisdiction to decide the
government's claim because the Constitution does not give
the United States the power to tax its citizens, including
him. The Court rejected those contentions in the Summary
Judgment Opinion and in the April 29, 2016 Memorandum Opinion
denying the First Set of Reconsideration Motions. The
arguments continue to founder, both procedurally and on the
new motions substantially mirror his First Set of
Reconsideration Motions. The Court will address the filings
Carter's Motion to Alter or Amend
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 59(e)
Motion to Alter or Amend invokes Federal Rule of Civil
Procedure 59(e) and seeks alteration of this Court's
December 31, 2015 Final Order granting summary judgment to
the United States. Rule 59(e) states that "[a] motion to
alter or amend a judgment must be filed no later than 28 days
after the entry of the judgment." Fed. R. Civ. Pro.
of a judgment after its entry is an extraordinary remedy
which should be used sparingly." Pac. Ins. Co. v.
Am. Nat'l Fire Ins. Co., 148 F.3d 396, 403 (4th Cir.
1998) (citation omitted). Rule 59(e) itself provides no
standard by which a district court may grant a motion to
alter or amend a judgment, but "courts interpreting Rule
59(e) have recognized three grounds for amending an earlier
judgment: (1) to accommodate an intervening change in
controlling law; (2) to account for new evidence not
available at trial; or (3) to correct a clear error of law or
prevent manifest injustice." Hutchinson v.
Staton, 994 F.2d 1076, 1081 (4th Cir 1993). Such motions
may not be used, however, "to raise arguments which
could have been raised prior to the issuance of the judgment,
nor may they be used to argue a case under a novel legal
theory that the party had the ability to address in the first
instance." Pac. Ins. Co., 148 F.3d at 403.
Moreover, "[a] party's mere disagreement with the
court's ruling does not warrant a Rule 59(e) motion . .
.." Smith v. Donahoe, 917 F.Supp.2d 562, 572
(E.D. Va. 2013) (citing Pac. Ins. Co., 148 F.3d at
403). Indeed, Rule 59(e) does not "give an unhappy
litigant one additional chance to sway the judge."
Durkin v. Taylor, 444 F.Supp. 879, 889 (E.D. Va.
1977) (stating that plaintiffs brief in support of his motion
to alter or amend the judgment was "no more than an
expression of a view of the law contrary to that set forth in
the Court's opinion, " and thus the court had no
proper basis to alter or amend its previous order).
Carter's Motion to Alter or Amend Is Untimely and Fails
to Satisfy the Rule 59(e) Standard
Court previously held in its April 29, 2016 Memorandum
Opinion and Order, the Court sees no basis to vacate its
December 31, 2015 Final Order granting summary judgment to
the United States. Although Carter has framed his contentions
slightly differently, he presents no new arguments in
addition to those that he filed earlier. Moreover, Carter
filed the Motion to Alter or Amend on April 19, 2017, more
than twenty-eight days-indeed more than a year- after the
Court entered its final judgment on December 31,
2015. The untimeliness of the Motion to Alter or
Amend constitutes sufficient grounds to deny Carter's
motion. However, even if the Court were to consider the
Motion to Alter or Amend, it would deny it on the merits.
Motion to Alter or Amend raises no issues or facts satisfying
the grounds for altering or amending a judgment pursuant to
Rule 59(e). In his motion, Carter reiterates that the Court
lacks subject matter jurisdiction. (Mot. Alter or Am. 1-2,
ECF No. 99.) Specifically, Carter challenges Congress's
authority to create income tax law, the Executive
Branch's authority to enforce the law, and the
Court's ability to take jurisdiction on an associated
matter (the "Constitutional Authority Argument").
Carter asserts that "the record in this action is
completely devoid of any proper declaration or fully
identified subject-matter jurisdiction of the district
court" because the Court has not stated "the
constitutional foundation and legal basis for the
action." (Id. at 2.)
Court rejected Carter's Constitutional Authority
Arguments in both its Summary Judgment Opinion and in its
April 29, 2016 Memorandum Opinion. In those opinions, the
Court thoroughly explained that it possesses subject matter
jurisdiction over the case because Congress has authorized
its jurisdiction under three separate statutes applicable to
this action: (1) 28 U.S.C. § 1340, (2) 28 U.S.C. §
1345, and (3) 26 U.S.C. § 7402. (See Dec. 31,
2015 Mem. Op. 10.)
Carter fails to satisfy any of the three standards for
granting a motion to alter or amend a judgment. First, Carter
identifies no change in controlling law. Since December 31,
2015, none has occurred. Second, Carter presents no "new
evidence" supporting his position. Instead, he repeats
his Constitutional Authority Argument. Third, Carter proffers
no basis from which the Court must correct a clear error of
law or prevent a manifest injustice. Therefore, alteration of
this Court's December 31, 2015 final judgment would be an
"extraordinary remedy" not warranted here. Pac.
Ins. Co., 148 F.3d at 403. Accordingly, the Court will
deny the Motion to Alter or Amend.
Carter's Motions to Void
remaining motions fail for the same reasons as does his
Motion to Alter or Amend. They do not meet the required
standards of the procedural rules invoked, and Carter's
repeated incantation of incorrect constitutional principles
remains flawed. Indeed, the level of repetition appears
vexatious given the number of decisions the Court has entered
plainly identifying black letter law: the United States has
the power to tax its ...