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Kelly v. Alabama Department of Revenue

United States District Court, M.D. Alabama, Northern Division

March 31, 2015

KASWANA A. KELLY, Plaintiff,


WALLACE CAPEL, Jr., Magistrate Judge.

Before the court is Defendant's Motion to Dismiss Plaintiff's Complaint (Doc. 15), Plaintiff's Response (Doc. 17) to the motion, Defendant's Supplemental Brief (Doc. 19) addressing recent changes in Alabama law, Plaintiff's Response (Doc. 24) to Defendant's supplemental brief, Plaintiff's Supplemental Response (Doc. 28) to Defendant's motion to dismiss, and Defendants' Reply (Doc. 29) to Plaintiff's supplemental response. The District Judge referred this case to the undersigned Magistrate Judge "for all pretrial proceedings and entry of any orders or recommendations as may be appropriate." Order (Doc. 4). After a review of the parties' filings and supporting evidentiary materials, and for the reasons that follow, the undersigned RECOMMENDS that Defendant's Motion to Dismiss (Doc. 15) be GRANTED.


The court has carefully considered the pleadings in this case and all documents submitted in support of, and in opposition to, Defendant's Motion to Dismiss. In her amended complaint, Plaintiff alleges, in pertinent part, as follows:

Plaintiff is from Tuscumbia, Alabama, where her mother still lives. Am. Compl. (Doc. 8) at 2, 3. Plaintiff graduated college "from the University of Northern Alabama in Florence, Alabama[, ]" but has been living in Tennessee since 2007 and has been "employed with Anchor Tours in White Creeks, Tennessee[, ] for seven years." Id.

Plaintiff received a letter from the Alabama Department of Revenue at her mother's address in Tuscumbia, Alabama, on July 2, 2014. Id. at 3. The letter stated that Plaintiff owed the Alabama Department of Revenue $1, 707.68 in state income taxes for the year 2011. Compl. exh. 1 (Doc. 1-1) at 1. Plaintiff has filed federal income tax returns bearing a Tennessee address since 2007. Am. Compl. (Doc. 8) at 3-4. Plaintiff maintains that the letter she received at her mother's house on July 2, 2014, is the only correspondence she has received concerning the tax debt which the Department asserts she owes to Alabama. Id. at 10; Pl.'s Br. (Doc. 24) at 1.

In response to the letter, Plaintiff called the Department on July 10, 2014, and was instructed "to provide additional proof of her residency in Tennessee." Id. at 4. Plaintiff thereafter faxed to the Department a Tennessee vehicle registration in her name, a billing history for Nashville Electric Service, a water bill, and a lease from her former apartment. Id. Subsequently, the Department "placed a tax lien on Plaintiff's credit reports, " causing a thirty-nine point decrease in her credit score. Am. Compl. (Doc. 8) at 5.

Next, Plaintiff and her fiance, Samuel Robinson, conducted a conference call with an agent at the Alabama Department of Revenue and were told that the information Plaintiff provided was not sufficient to provide proof of residency. Id. at 7. Plaintiff then received a phone call from Defendant Baxley, [1] an employee of the Alabama Department of Revenue's Criminal Investigations Division, stating that collections actions were initiated based on Plaintiff still retaining an Alabama driver's license. Id. at 8. The following day, Plaintiff spoke on the phone with Defendant Crumbley, the Director of Operations for the Criminal Division of the Department of Revenue. Defendant Crumbley was unable to provide Plaintiff with satisfactory responses to her charges of various "civil rights violations and criminal allegations, " and refused to further investigate Plaintiff's claims. Id. at 11-12.[2]

Based upon these allegations, Plaintiff has filed the instant Amended Complaint, alleging the following causes of action

a. that Defendants violated her procedural due process rights by taking adverse action against her and causing her actual harm when they "made a determination of residency, and a determination of liability, without affording Plaintiff minimal procedural due process[;]"
b. that the Department of Revenue violated her substantive due process rights when it "imitated [sic] a governmental action against Plaintiff, " which harmed Plaintiff, and which was "without legal authority or personal jurisdiction[, ]" and that Defendants Baxley and Crumbley failed to protect the due process rights of Plaintiff despite their purported awareness of such violation of her rights;
c. that Defendants violated her rights under the Privileges and Immunities Clause when they "imposed law of the State of Alabama upon Plaintiff, though she is immune from such law as a resident of Tennessee, and was treated in a manner dissimilar than other Tennessee residents[;]"
d. that Defendants violated her rights under the Fourth Amendment when they "placed a tax lien against the Plaintiff, preventing her from the transfer of any property, from refinancing her home, and from making purchases with the use of her credit[;]"
e. that Defendants violated the Fair Credit Reporting Act when they "placed a tax lien on Plaintiff's credit report, knowing in advance that there was no legal basis for the actions, fraudulently reporting the tax lien to all existing credit reporting agencies, also making a fraudulent representation ...

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