TERRANCE M. TUTTLE, Appellant (Plaintiff),
DEBRA K. LEE, in her official capacity as Laramie County Clerk, Appellee (Defendant).
from the District Court of Laramie County The Honorable
Steven K. Sharpe, Judge.
Representing Appellant: Terrance M. Tuttle, Pro se
Representing Appellee: J. Mark Stewart of Davis & Cannon,
LLP, Cheyenne, Wyoming
DAVIS, C.J., and BURKE, FOX, KAUTZ, and BOOMGAARDEN, JJ.
In 2007, the United States Internal Revenue Service (IRS)
filed a Notice of Federal Tax Lien (NFTL) against real
property owned by Terrance Tuttle. In 2017, Mr. Tuttle filed
a declaratory judgment action against the Laramie County
Clerk, asking that the NFTL be declared invalid and that the
clerk be ordered to remove the NFTL from Mr. Tuttle's
property record. The district court dismissed the complaint
as barred by the statute of limitations and for failure to
state a cognizable claim. We agree that the complaint failed
to state a cognizable claim and affirm.
Mr. Tuttle, appearing pro se, presents two issues on
appeal. We find a single issue dispositive and state that
Did the district court err in dismissing Mr. Tuttle's
complaint pursuant to W.R.C.P. 12(b)(6) for failure to state
a claim for which relief may be granted?
Accepting the allegations in Mr. Tuttle's complaint as
true, see Whitham v. Feller, 2018 WY 43, ¶ 4,
415 P.3d 1264, 1265 (Wyo. 2018), the pertinent facts are as
follows. In 2007, the IRS filed an NFTL against Mr.
Tuttle's Laramie County property. The IRS did not
thereafter file a tax lien against the property, but the
presence of the NFTL itself interfered with Mr. Tuttle's
ability to refinance. On numerous occasions over the ten
years following the recording of the NFTL, Mr. Tuttle asked
the county clerk, then Debra Lathrop, to remove it from his
property record. Ms. Lathrop refused to do so and informed
Mr. Tuttle that the NFTL could not be removed without a court
On April 12, 2017, Mr. Tuttle filed a declaratory judgment
complaint against Debra Lee, Ms. Lathrop's successor. The
complaint did not allege that Ms. Lee violated the law or any
procedural requirement by recording the NFTL. It instead
alleged, in relevant part:
15. The Plaintiff talked to Ms. Lathrop many times since 2007
about having the NFTL stricken from the record because it is
incorrect and it contains false information that harms the
Plaintiff's credit rating.
* * * *
21. The NFTL was placed of record by mistake. The NFTL
constitutes a slander of the Plaintiff's title as no
federal tax lien has ever been filed and no action has ever