Attorney-at-Law

LEGAL WRITING AS SHE IS WRIT

In Uncategorized on 12/11/2015 at 15:49

Or, Tax Court As Copy Editor

It is my rule not to name attorneys in these posts, when they come under judicial criticism, however mild. There but for the grace of you-know-Whom goes any of us.

But today The Judge With the Wonderful Name, STJ Lewis (“Spell It Right”) Carluzzo, deals so gently with a certain attorney (hereinafter “Marky”) that I must salute STJ Lew’s patience.

The problem is the petition Marky filed in Byron S. Georgiou & Therese Collins-Georgiou, Docket No. 22316-15, filed 12/11/15, and not even the substance, but the form.

And STJ Lew designates this hitter, so that we may all read and heed.

“The allegations of fact and other statements contained in the paragraphs and pages of the petition following paragraph 3(d) are not set forth in ‘lettered statements’ as required in Rule 34(b)(5) and demonstrated in the sample petition depicted in Form 1. At the risk of appearing persnickety, we point out that we could excuse, and often do, the failure to strictly adhere to our pleading formatting Rules if only a few paragraphs in the petition are not properly numbered or lettered. But here, following paragraph 3(d) there are more than ten pages of improperly designated or undesignated separate paragraphs. This presents practical problems not only for respondent in preparing his answer (cumbersome references to specific allegations to which a response relates), but to the Court as well in reviewing the pleadings as necessary after the case is at issue.” Order, at p. 1.

I think what you meant to say, Judge, is “Lest anyone feel that we are persnickety, we point out that we could excuse, and often do, the failure to strictly adhere to our pleading formatting Rules if only a few paragraphs in the petition are not properly numbered or lettered.”

Howbeit, while IRS wants the petition stricken, or at least amended so as to be in a form that both IRS’s counsel and the Court can handle, STJ Lew has a better idea.

IRS’s counsel “…need only respond to the statements and allegations contained in the petition up to and including paragraph 3(d), and (2) may include, as appropriate, affirmative allegations….. [And] all allegations, statements, and/or representations, contained in the paragraphs of the petition following paragraph 3(d) are deemed denied.” Order, at p. 2.

And STJ Lew makes clear his liberality in allowing in this mélange: “Even though we agree to a certain extent with respondent [IRS] that much of that material might not be properly includable in a petition in a deficiency proceeding, none of it constitutes a ‘matter’ that is properly viewed as ‘impertinent, frivolous, or scandalous’. See Rule 52. Otherwise, we are reluctant to strike any portion of a party’s submission unless it is clear that the material stricken can have no possible bearing upon the subject matter of the litigation.” Order, at p. 2. (Citation omitted).

Still, if you really want to get on STJ Lew’s good side, and his colleagues’, write it right.

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