United States District Court, W.D. North Carolina, Asheville Division
CHARLES BUTTS, DEREK BUTTS, ZACHARY BOYER, and GARRETT PHILLIPS, Plaintiffs,
SCI-COOL ACQUISITION COMPANY, LLC, THOMAS BAUGH III, NORMAN ISLAND ADVISORS, LL, THOMAS BAUGH IV, MICHELE ANDERSON, DAVID V. GUST, ISLAND FOREST ENTERPRISES, LLC, NORMAN ISLAND PARTNERS, LLC, ISLAND FOREST INDUSTRIAL, LLC, INDUSTRIAL DYNAMICS, and ALLIED PRECISION COMPONENTS, Defendants.
REIDINGER, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
MATTER is before the Court on Sci-Cool Acquistion
Company, LLC's Motion to Dismiss [Doc. 14].
FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND
December 6, 2016, the Plaintiffs filed this action in the
Buncombe County General Court of Justice, Superior Court
Division, against the Defendants, asserting claims for breach
of contract, breach of fiduciary duty, conversion, fraud, and
violation of the North Carolina Unfair and Deceptive Trade
Practices Act, N.C. Gen. Stat. 75-1.1, et seq. [Doc.
1-1]. Specifically, the Plaintiffs contend that the
Defendants breached their employment agreements with the
Plaintiffs by, among other things, failing to pay withheld
employment taxes and failing to report the Plaintiffs'
wages to the North Carolina Employment Security Commission.
In addition, Plaintiff Derek Butts asserts claims for
compensation for an alleged workplace injury. [Id.].
February 10, 2017, the Defendant Sci-Cool Acquisition
Company, LLC (“Sci-Cool”) filed a Notice of
Removal of this action to this Court, on the basis of the
existence of a federal question. [Doc. 1]. Specifically,
Sci-Cool contended that because some of the Plaintiffs'
claims were based on Sci-Cool's alleged failure to comply
with the Federal Insurance Contributions Act, 26 U.S.C.
§ 3121, et seq. (“FICA”), the
Plaintiffs' civil action “arises under the laws of
the United States.” [Id. at 2].
April 25, 2017, Sci-Cool filed the present motion, seeking to
dismiss this action. In pertinent part, Sci-Cool argued that
the Plaintiffs' claims based on Sci-Cool's failure to
pay FICA taxes are barred on the grounds that there is no
private right of action under federal law to enforce payment
of FICA amounts to the Internal Revenue Service. [Doc. 14].
the Motion to Dismiss was filed, the Court learned that the
Plaintiffs' counsel had abandoned her practice without
notice to the Plaintiffs. Accordingly, the Court stayed the
action to allow the Plaintiffs the opportunity to retain new
counsel. [Doc. 20]. On August 9, 2017, attorney George Moore
filed a notice of appearance on behalf of the Plaintiffs.
[Doc. 21]. On the same day, he filed a response in opposition
to Sci-Cool's motion. [Doc. 22]. No reply was filed.
Accordingly, this matter has been fully briefed and is ripe
district courts are courts of limited jurisdiction.
United States ex rel. Vuyyuru v. Jadhav, 555 F.3d
337, 347 (4th Cir. 2009). “Thus, when a
district court lacks subject matter jurisdiction over an
action, the action must be dismissed.” Id. The
lack of subject matter jurisdiction is an issue that may be
raised at any time. See Ellenburg v. Spartan Motors
Chassis, Inc., 519 F.3d 192, 196 (4th Cir.
2008). “If the court determines at any time that it
lacks subject-matter jurisdiction, the court must dismiss the
action.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(h)(3).
Sci-Cool contends that the Plaintiffs have asserted claims
upon which relief cannot be granted because there is no
private right of action under federal law to compel an
employer to pay amounts withheld under FICA. [Doc. 14]. The
Plaintiffs agree with the Defendants' contention that
there is no such private right of action, but they contend
that their Complaint does not seek any relief on that basis.
Rather, they argue, their “claims and requests for
relief are based solely on North Carolina law.” [Doc.
22 at 2].
parties concede, there is no private right of action under
FICA. See Umland v. PLANCO Fin. Servs., Inc., 542
F.3d 59, 67 (3d Cir. 2008); McDonald v. Southern Farm
Bureau Life Ins. Co., 291 F.3d 718, 726 (11th Cir.
2002). Reviewing the Plaintiffs' Complaint, it is evident
that the Plaintiffs have alleged claims for breach of
contract, breach of fiduciary duty, conversion, fraud, and
unfair and deceptive trade practices, all of which arises
solely under state law. As the Plaintiffs have not alleged a
claim under FICA and there are no other federal issues
appearing on the face of the Complaint, it appears that the
Court lacks any subject matter jurisdiction over this matter.
Accordingly, this matter shall be remanded to the Buncombe
County General Court of Justice, Superior Court Division, for
IS, THEREFORE ORDERED that this case is hereby
REMANDED to the Buncombe County General
Court of Justice, Superior Court Division.