United States Ninth Circuit

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Paeste v. Government of Guam, 13-15389

In a class action brought by Guam taxpayers against Guam and several of its officers in their official capacities alleging that defendants violated the tax provisions of the Organic Act of Guam, 48 US.C. section 1421i, by failing timely to refund income tax overpayments, and claiming under 42 U.S.C. section 1983, that Guam's expedited tax refund program violated plaintiff's equal protection rights, the district court's grant of summary judgment and permanent injunction is affirmed where: 1) the question of whether a party is a person under section 1983 is not a jurisdictional question but rather a statutory one and therefore Guam's section 1983 arguments did not implicate subject matter jurisdiction, however the court exercises its discretion to consider the arguments; and 2) the official-capacity defendants were "persons" within the meaning of section 1983 for purposes of prospective relief; and 3) the district court did not abuse its discretion in issuing a permanent injunction that required Guam to pay refunds within six months once it determined that the requests were valid and not subject to investigation or audit.

Appellate Information

  • Decided 08/26/2015
  • Published 08/26/2015


  • Berzon


  • United States Ninth Circuit