In Uncategorized on 06/09/2014 at 20:45

No, not the Rodgers and Hammerstein 1945 Maine seaside epic that gave birth to the classic “You’ll Never Walk Alone”.

Today, however, Jeffrey Holden takes up that canzone. Who is he? Jeff’s a reluctant witness in someone else’s Tax Court case. Whose case? Why, Amazon.Com Inc., & Subsidiaries, Docket No. 31197-12, filed 6/9/14.

The internet mega-emporium is apparently embattled over something called the Project Goldcrest transaction, and Mr. Holden, a former employee of The Big A, apparently has some discoverable information thereabout, or so IRS is able to convince Judge Lauber.

IRS asked Jeff for an informal chat, but Jeff said no. IRS then sent Jeff a formal notice, and Jeff again said no. So IRS moves for an order directing Jeff to show for a deposition, attaching a written response from Jeff’s attorney saying Jeff objects.

“Rule 74(c) provides that the taking of a deposition of a nonparty witness is an extraordinary method of discovery that may be utilized when the testimony sought is relevant and not privileged and ‘cannot be obtained through informal consultation or communication.’” Order, at p. 1.

Remember Rule 74? No? See my blogpost “Don’t Suppose You Can Depose”, 12/2/13. Jeff’s testimony must be extraordinary.

Jeff claims he isn’t the sole source of the information IRS wants. But that’s only one test.

Judge Lauber: “In a case as complex as this, it will rarely be true that a single individual is the sole repository of relevant, non-privileged information. Allowing a ‘sole source’ defense could lead to an endless carousel of objections in large, complex cases where no witness would ever have to be deposed.” Order, at p. 2.

And Judge Lauber isn’t buying Jeff’s claim that he’s too busy to talk.

“The Court is sympathetic to Mr. Holden’s busy schedule, but that alone cannot be a justification for preventing respondent from obtaining relevant, discoverable information; the other 11 witnesses to be deposed likely have busy schedules too. Acknowledging Mr. Holden’s busy schedule, respondent has promised to ‘make every effort to schedule Mr. Holden’s deposition at a place and time that will accommodate his other obligations.’ We will hold respondent to this promise.” Order, at p. 2.

So, though busy Jeff may not have walked alone through Project Goldcrest transaction, he’s got to tell IRS all about it.


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