Hartford Office Secures Appellate Victory For Client in Tax Withholding Dispute

Hartford, Conn. (April 23, 2024) – Hartford Partner Christy E. Jachimowski and Associate Jennifer E. Karr recently obtained a victory for a client company at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, with the appeals court affirming the dismissal of a complaint accusing the client of violating an employee’s constitutional rights by withholding federal income tax from his wages. The Court of Appeals took just one day to uphold the lower court decision in the client’s favor.

In a case where the plaintiff sued Lewis Brisbois’ client for theft and multiple constitutional violations, it became clear that the case was actually about a plaintiff attempting to evade federal income tax. In his lengthy complaint, the plaintiff alleged that he had instructed the firm’s client to cease withholding federal income taxes from his wages. When the Internal Revenue Service told the client company to continue withholding income taxes, the plaintiff determined that the firm’s client and the IRS were involved in a conspiracy to deprive him of constitutional rights. 

The motion to dismiss before the federal district court below attacked the legal sufficiency of the plaintiff’s claims, arguing that because the client was legally required to withhold federal income taxes from the plaintiff’s wages, the theft count must fail, and so too must the constitutional claims, which all relied on the sufficiency of the theft claim. The district court granted the motion to dismiss, with prejudice.

In its de novo review, the Court of Appeals found that the plaintiff’s claims were without merit, and further, wholly frivolous.

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