In Uncategorized on 04/02/2014 at 15:19

A misquotation, both from B. Traven’s novel and from the Humphrey Bogart classic movie, but even so, rated as American Film Institute’s 36th all-time greatest movie quote.

But two attorneys, having left one firm, continue to represent that firm in trying to secure a piece of Fighting Joe Insinga’s not-yet-and-maybe-never whistleblower recovery per Section 7430, while also purporting to represent Fighting Joe as he fights on toward that goal. And go charging into Tax Court, with or without any basis.

Whether or not representing Fighting Joe and his former firm (which seeks money from Fighting Joe’s recovery) is a conflict of interest, and whether or not waivable, I leave for the ethicists.

Suffice it to say, that Obliging Jurist, Judge Gustafson, is way less obliging than usual in Joseph A. Insinga, Docket No. 9011-13W, filed 4/2/14, a designated hitter.

The boys start out with an Entry of Appearance on behalf of Fighting Joe’s former law firm. That’s interesting, says Judge Gustafson, because the only parties are Fighting Joe and the IRS, and said law firm hasn’t moved to intervene.

Of course, it can so move, if it has standing, but that’s another story. Intervention in Tax Court is an obstacle course in itself. See my blogposts “Statute of Limitations? Maybe Not”, 12/28/10 and “Missed It, But Better Late Than Never”, 8/24/11, where Tax Court and Third Circuit wrestle with Tax Court intervention in the celebrated Virgin islands Appleton case.

Likewise, Fighting Joe hasn’t won anything yet (and the odds on him don’t look too good so far).

Nevertheless and notwithstanding anything otherwise or to the contrary elsewhere herein set forth, as my yacht-owning colleagues like to say, the boys want to assert an attorneys’ lien for their former firm on any recovery they might pry from the National Fisc on behalf of Fighting Joe.

For the civilians amongst you, if an attorney works on a case and is relieved (otherwise than for misconduct), the attorney has a lien on any recovery by the erstwhile client for the fair value of services rendered to date of discharge. This is to keep deadbeats from tossing hard-laboring peasants like Your Humble Servant under the proverbial on the eve of victory and scampering with the boodle.

There’s a couple problems here (if I may use Judge Holmes’ favorite grammatical form without approving of it, but rather as a tip of the old Stetson to a loyal reader).

Judge Gustafson: “If Mr. Insinga prevails, this Court’s work will culminate in its entry of a decision. This Court does not cut checks to successful petitioners, and the undersigned judge is unaware of any grant to the Tax Court of jurisdiction to compel any agency to cut a check or to give it directions in doing so. The Tax Court does not oversee the execution of its decisions, and if the responsible agency were to fail to pay an award that the Tax Court had determined, or were to pay the award to the wrong person, we know of no statute authorizing us to entertain any request for enforcement of a judgment.” Order, at p. 2.

In short, boys, we ain’t got no stinkin’ jurisdiction, and you ain’t got no justification for filing anything here, so show cause why Judge Gustafson shouldn’t trash your papers, and bid you the best of luck.


Footnote to the foregoing:  By Order dated 5/2/14, Judge Gustafson tossed the boys and their Notice of Appearance.


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