Johansen v. US, No. 06-2037 (10/29/07). After a couple divorced, the government asserted a tax lien on the wife’s house based on the government’s tax liabilities. The wife went to court to quiet title. The government counterclaimed to foreclose the property. Then the ex-husband paid the tax liability.
Once the government got its money, it filed documents saying that the case was moot, and it no longer sought to foreclose, and was no longer asserting the lien. The plaintiff argues that this whole thing had hurt her creditworthiness, and she could still obtain attorneys fees under the Internal Revenue Code, 26 U.S.C. § 7430, and the Equal Access to Justice Act, 28 U.S.C. § 2412(d).
The government argues that the plaintiff was suing under a waiver of sovereign immunity to “quiet title” and therefore does not have a free-standing cause of action for money damages. The First says that because the equitable relief that she sought is no longer sought, then she can’t get money damages because the matter is moot under Lewis v. Continental Bank Corporation, 494 U.S. 472, 477 (1990) (“conclusive character” defines mootness.)
Read, or something.