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Boggs v. Logic Technology, Inc.

United States District Court, D. South Carolina, Columbia Division

May 10, 2018

RICHARD BOGGS, Plaintiff,
v.
LOGIC TECHNOLOGY, INC. and UNITED STATES, Defendants.

          ORDER ADOPTING THE REPORT AND RECOMMENDATIONS AND GRANTING DEFENDANT LOGIC TECHNOLOGY INC.'S AND THE UNITED STATES' MOTIONS TO DISMISS

          MARY GEIGER LEWIS, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         Plaintiff Richard Boggs complains Defendants Logic Technology, Inc., (LTI) and the United States improperly withheld federal income taxes from his wages while he was an LTI employee. Boggs seeks monetary damages and declaratory relief. He is proceeding pro se.

         The matter is before the Court for review of: (1) the Report and Recommendation of the United States Magistrate Judge suggesting LTI's motion to dismiss be granted (Report I); (2) Boggs's Sur-reply to LTI's reply to his response to its motion to dismiss (Boggs's Sur-reply); and (3) the Magistrate Judge's Report and Recommendation advising the Court to grant the United States' motion to dismiss (Report II). The Reports were made in accordance with 28 U.S.C. § 636 and Local Civil Rule 73.02 for the District of South Carolina.

         The Magistrate Judge makes only a recommendation to this Court. The recommendation has no presumptive weight. The responsibility to make a final determination remains with the Court. Mathews v. Weber, 423 U.S. 261, 270 (1976). The Court is charged with making a de novo determination of those portions of the Report to which specific objection is made, and the Court may accept, reject, or modify, in whole or in part, the recommendation of the Magistrate Judge or recommit the matter with instructions. 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1).

         The Magistrate Judge filed Report I on November 7, 2017. The Clerk of Court entered Boggs's Sur-reply on November 9, 2017, and his objections on November 17, 2017 (Objections I). Given the interconnectedness of Boggs's claims against LTI and the United States, the Court decided it best to wait and consider Report I, which analyzes LTI's motion to dismiss, contemporaneously with Report II, which discusses the United States' motion to dismiss.

         The Magistrate Judge filed Report II on February 21, 2018; and the Clerk filed Boggs's objections on March 6, 2018 (Objections II).

         Having carefully reviewed Boggs's Sur-reply and both sets of his objections, the Court holds them all to be without merit. It will therefore enter judgment accordingly.

         LTI withheld federal taxes from Boggs's wages after it received a lock-in letter from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) instructing it to do so. The letter directed LTI to disregard the W-4 Employee's Withholding Allowance Certificate Boggs previously submitted to LTI and withhold income taxes from his wages at a specified rate. LTI complied with the IRS's letter and withheld income taxes from Boggs's wages.

         Boggs's Sur-reply

         Although Boggs filed his sur-reply after the Magistrate Judge filed Report I, in an abundance of caution, the Court will address his arguments from that submission.

         First, Boggs takes issue with LTI's argument it “is protected from legal liability for complying with withholding obligations imposed upon them by federal law.” Boggs's Sur-reply 1. Boggs's claim is without merit.

         The relevant statute is clear: “The employer shall be liable for the payment of the tax required to be deducted and withheld under this chapter, and shall not be liable to any person for the amount of any such payment.” 26 U.S.C. § 3403. Accordingly, “an employer cannot be made liable for failing to honor an employee's W-4 form when it has been directed to do so by the Internal Revenue Service.” Benz v. United Parcel Serv., 815 F.2d 75 (6th Cir. 1987).

         Second, Boggs disagrees with LTI's “argument regarding the 26 USC § 3201 definition of “employee”[ ] and use of the term “includes[.]” Boggs's Sur-reply 5. Inasmuch as Section 3401, not Section 3201, is the relevant statute, the Court assumes Boggs's citation to 26 USC § 3201 is a scrivener's error.

         LTI maintains Boggs is an employee, as defined by Section 3401, whose wages are subject to federal income taxes. Boggs ...


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