Sunday, November 24, 2013

United States v. Joe Grasso & Son, Inc. case brief

United States v. Joe Grasso & Son, Inc. case brief summary
380 F.2d 749 (5th Cir. 1967)


CASE SYNOPSIS
Appellant United States sought review of a judgment of a United States district court, which dismissed appellant's third party complaint against appellee captains that alleged their liability for employment taxes for fishermen that worked in appellant corporation's commercial shrimp fishing operation. Appellee corporation had sought a refund for employment taxes, claiming that it was not the fishermen's employer.

CASE FACTS
Appellee corporation ran a commercial shrimp fishing operation that employed captains and fishermen. Appellee corporation filed an action for a refund of federal employment taxes that had been assessed under the Federal Insurance Contributions Act, 26 U.S.C.S. § 3101 et seq., and the Federal Unemployment Act, 26 U.S.C.S. § 3301 et seq., arguing that the fishermen were not its employees. Appellant United States filed a third party complaint against appellee captains, alleging that they were the employers of the fishermen if appellee corporation was not. The district court dismissed the third party complaint, under Fed. R. Civ. P. 14, as the liability of appellee captains did not automatically follow from proof of appellee corporation's nonliability.

DISCUSSION

  • The court affirmed the judgment, holding that the third party complaint was a separate claim for taxes and was properly denied, as appellee captains' liability was not dependent upon the outcome of appellee corporation's claim. 
  • The court noted that the determination of whether the fishermen were employees turned on the facts of each case.
CONCLUSION
The court affirmed the judgment, holding that the district court had properly denied appellant United States' third party complaint against appellee captains that was filed in appellee corporation's action for a refund of employment taxes that had been assessed against it for fishermen because appellee captains' liability for the taxes was not dependent upon appellee corporation's nonliability.

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