Given the purpose of the IRC, there may be cases where a plaintiff seeks a refund of monies collected under a technically non-existent tax, which should still be characterized as a tax refund case. This is one of those cases.
ii. The enforcement mechanism
In addition to characterizing this case as one for a tax refund, an analysis under Railway's first prong requires that this court examine whether the IRC contains civil enforcement provisions within the scope of plaintiff's claims. To satisfy this first prong, this court must find that the IRC creates a federal cause of action vindicating the plaintiff's interest. See Goepel, supra, 36 F.3d at 311-12. However, the IRC need not provide the same remedy available under state law, but just some vindication for the same interest. See Railway, supra, at 942 n.2. The IRC provides that where a tax has been erroneously or illegally assessed, the aggrieved party must file an administrative claim with the Secretary of the Treasury. See 26 U.S.C. 7422(a); Sigmon, supra, at 1203; Kaucky, supra, at 350. If that claim is unsuccessful, the plaintiff may pursue a claim against the United States for a tax refund. Because the IRC provides remedies for a tax refund of which the plaintiff in this case may avail herself, I find that the first Railway prong is satisfied.
B. Railway's Second Prong: Congressional Intent
As noted above, the "complete preemption" doctrine is limited to extraordinary circumstances and for that reason, the Third Circuit has identified an additional prong of the analysis -- evidence of congressional intent. See Railway, supra, at 942. Under this prong, the court must determine whether there exists a "clear indication of a Congressional intention to permit removal despite the plaintiff's exclusive reliance on state law," Railway, supra, at 942. As I have already stated, the Railway test is the apotheosis of the Third Circuit's interpretation of two Supreme Court cases: Avco Corp v. Aero Lodge No. 735, 390 U.S. 557, 20 L. Ed. 2d 126, 88 S. Ct. 1235 (1968) and Metropolitan Life Insurance v. Taylor, 481 U.S. 58, 95 L. Ed. 2d 55, 107 S. Ct. 1542 (1987). To further understand what is meant by congressional intent, this court will explore the reasoning of those opinions.
In Avco, the Supreme Court found that the "pre-emptive force" of Section 301 [of the LMRA] was "so powerful as to displace entirely any state cause of action 'for violation of contracts between an employer and labor organization. Any such suit is purely a creature of federal law . . . ." Franchise Tax Board v. Construction Laborers, 463 U.S. 1, 23, 77 L. Ed. 2d 420, 103 S. Ct. 2841 (1983). Section 301 of the LMRA provides that:
Suits for violation of contracts between an employer and a labor organization . . . may be brought in any district court of the United States having jurisdiction of the parties, without respect to the amount in controversy or without regard to the citizenship of the parties.