United States District Court, S.D. New York
ORDER AND OPINION
VALERIE CAPRONI UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
the Court is Defendant's motion to dismiss pursuant to
Rule 12(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.
Plaintiff Jameel Haikeem Davis (“Plaintiff” or
“Davis”), proceeding pro se, commenced
this lawsuit against Defendant Times Square Hotel Operating
Lessee LLC d/b/a DoubleTree Suites by Hilton - Times Square
(“Defendant” or “DoubleTree”),
Complaint (“Compl.”) [Dkt. 1], alleging a variety
of claims related to wage withholdings. Defendant filed a
motion to dismiss on the grounds that the Plaintiff fails to
plead any cognizable cause of action with regard to the
eleven counts asserted. See Memorandum of Law in
Support of Defendant's Motion to Dismiss
(“MTD”) [Dkt. 27]. For the reasons below, the Court
dismisses the Complaint with prejudice.
a resident of New York City,  makes several claims against his
employer DoubleTree, all essentially based on the allegation
that he has been injured because Defendant improperly
withheld income taxes and executed a garnishment of his wages
to satisfy his child support obligations. Plaintiff asserts
that he has communicated his wage-related grievances with
representatives of the hotel on two occasions. On December
16, 2016, Plaintiff met with representatives of the Defendant
and demanded that they stop the withholdings and
garnishments, submitting various documents in support of his
request. Compl. ¶¶ 17-21, 29- 32; Exs.
A-F. On February 2, 2017, Plaintiff again met with members of
the staff and submitted an affidavit in addition to the
original set of documents. Id. ¶¶ 33-39; Ex. G.
According to Plaintiff, no change was made to his net
compensation in response his requests. Id.
¶¶ 32, 41. Plaintiff claims that he has suffered a
broad array of injuries, laid out in eleven counts, which
include violations of due process and other civil rights
(Counts One through Six); civil conspiracy (Count Seven);
abuse of process (Count Eight); breach of fiduciary duty
(Count Nine); economic duress (Count Ten); and infliction of
emotional distress (Count Eleven). Id. ¶¶
survive a motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6), “a
complaint must allege sufficient facts, taken as true, to
state a plausible claim for relief.” Johnson v.
Priceline.com, Inc., 711 F.3d 271, 275 (2d Cir. 2013)
(citing Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544,
555-56 (2007)). “Although for the purposes of a motion
to dismiss we must take all of the factual allegations in the
complaint as true, we ‘are not bound to accept as true
a legal conclusion couched as a factual
allegation.'” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S.
662, 678 (2009) (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555).
“[T]o survive a motion under Rule 12(b)(6), a complaint
does not need to contain detailed or elaborate factual
allegations, but only allegations sufficient to raise an
entitlement to relief above the speculative level.”
Keiler v. Harlequin Enters., Ltd., 751 F.3d 64, 70
(2d Cir. 2014) (citation omitted).
considering a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss, the Court
accepts all factual allegations in the pleadings as true and
draws all reasonable inferences in the light most favorable
to the plaintiff. See Gibbons v. Malone, 703 F.3d
595, 599 (2d Cir. 2013) (citation omitted). “A document
filed pro se is to be liberally construed, . . . and
a pro se complaint, however inartfully pleaded, must
be held to less stringent standards than formal pleadings
drafted by lawyers.” Erickson v. Pardus, 551
U.S. 89, 94 (2007) (quoting Estelle v. Gamble, 429
U.S. 97, 106 (1976)) (internal quotation marks omitted).
The Tax Withholding and Garnishments Underlying the
Allegations were Proper
argues that Defendant's withholding of income taxes from
his wages was illegal. Compl. ¶ 10-12. “All
persons in the United States who receive earned income or
remuneration or unearned income are required to file tax
returns and, if the income is sufficient, must pay
taxes.” Bey v. City of New York D.O.C., No. 97
CIV. 4866 (RPP), 1997 WL 576090, at *2 (S.D.N.Y. Sept. 17,
1997), aff'd sub nom. Akil Bey v. City of New York
Dep't of Correction, 164 F.3d 617 (2d Cir. 1998).
See also United States v. O'Connor, No.
07-CR-86A, 2007 WL 3232093, at *3 (W.D.N.Y. Oct. 31, 2007)
(quoting United States v. Sloan, 939 F.2d 499, 501
(7th Cir. 1991)). Deducting appropriate income taxes from an
employee's wages is a mandatory legal obligation of an
employer, not a discretionary policy. ‘El Bey v.
MTA/New York, No. 00 CV 2504 (GBD), 2001 WL 487410, at
*2 (S.D.N.Y. May 8, 2001) (citing 26 U.S.C. §
3402(a)(1)).An employer who duly complies with
requirements to withhold taxes from wages cannot be held
liable for doing so. Id. (citing 26 U.S.C. §
3403; Maxfield v. U.S. Postal Serv., 752 F.2d 433,
434 (9th Cir. 1984); Edgar v. Inland Steele Co., 744
F.2d 1276, 1278 (7th Cir. 1984); Kupcho v. Steele,
651 F.Supp. 797, 800 (S.D.N.Y. 1986)). To prevent a
withholding of federal income tax, there must be “some
employment contractual provision to the contrary.”
‘El Bey, 2001 WL 487410, at *2 (citations
individuals, including nonresident aliens, are exempt from
federal income taxes.26 C.F.R. § 1.871-1(a). Plaintiff
asserts he is a nonresident alien and has never “lived,
worked, nor ha[d] income from any source within” the
United States, although he concedes that he was born in New
York State. Ex. A, Ex. E. Plaintiff further claimed to be a
nonresident alien in a W-8BEN form, in which he recorded his
permanent address as “Earth (not within any
government), ” but he listed a New York City mailing
address immediately below (while asserting that New York, New
York is “not within any federal zone”). Ex. D;
see also Ex. C (listing the same address under
“Home address”). The thrust of Plaintiff's
argument appears to be that because he was born in New York
State (or, as he refers to it, “New York State
Republic”), rather than a non-state U.S. territory, he
is not subject to U.S. jurisdiction and is exempt from paying
taxes. See Ex. E (“I hereby certify that I,
Jameel Haikeem Davis, was born in the continental New York
State Republic, of the Union (u)nited [sic] States of
America. I was not born in a territory over which
the United States is Sovereign and I am, therefore, not a
citizen of the United States, subject to its
jurisdiction, to whom the Internal Revenue Code is
applicable . . . . I am a Citizen of New York State, and am
domiciled in New York county, where I have occupied such
status for approximately 40 years since my date of birth . .
. . I am, therefore, a natural born Citizen of one
of the 50 union American States . . . . ”).
is incorrect. New York is a state of the United States, and
residents of New York State are subject to U.S. federal
jurisdiction. Plaintiff was born in New York and has lived
here all of his life; he is an American citizen. See
8 U.S.C. § 1401. As an American citizen residing in the
United States, Plaintiff is subject to the requirement that
he pay income taxes. Thus, Defendant properly withheld
Child Support Garnishments
argues that the garnishments of his wages pursuant to an
Income Withholding Order (“IWO”) issued by
Westchester County Child Support Enforcement are illegal.
See, e.g., Compl. ¶ 11. Employers are
required by New York State law to garnish obligatory child
support payments pursuant to an IWO. See N.Y.
C.P.L.R. § 5241 (obligating employers to garnish wages
and subjecting employers to penalty for failure to do so);
Davis IWO (“IWO”) [Dkt. 28- 1]; 42 U.S.C. §
654(4)(B) (requiring that a state plan for child support must
“enforce any support obligation established”
against a qualifying parent).
argues that the garnishments are illegal because the IWO is
void. Id. ¶¶ 11, 23- 30; see also
Ex. B. Plaintiff alleges that the IWO is “not a Court
order pursuant trial by jury, ” adding that the Family
Court child support hearings violate due process because they
are “non-judicial but administrative.”
Id. at ¶¶ 11, 25. As a result, he claims,
IWOs are “forgeries” and “void
judgments.” Id. at ¶ 28. Further,
Plaintiff argues that the IWO was not signed by a judge and
is, therefore, an “invalid instrument and forged
document.” Id. at ¶ 29. These arguments
are unavailing. Nothing in the statute or Plaintiff's
allegations suggests that an IWO, in order to be effective,
must be the result of a jury trial, or that a judge's
signature is required. The legal authorities cited in ...