Attorney-at-Law

CRACKING THE WHIP

In Uncategorized on 02/03/2016 at 16:24

When I welcomed Judges Ashford and Pugh to the Tax Court bench, I fear I must have curbed their enthusiasm somewhat. For those among you who come late to this potluck, here’s what I said back on 12/22/14, in my blogpost “New Kids On the Block.

“Now they can start wading through protester jive, Section 152 relativity, professional and amateur dodgers, nonfilers, late filers and rounders that we lonely bloggers confront every day, although our credentials are much less impressive.”

I ought to have added to the list assorted gamesters and dilatory discoverers. But today Judge Pugh shows us that she knows right well how to deal with the likes of them, in Bay Pacific Networking, Inc. SPARC, Docket No. 21580-14, filed 2/3/16. And no, I don’t know what a SPARC is, either, unless it’s referring to a medical marijuana outlet in San Francisco.

Judge Pugh dropped some helpful hints to IRS and the SPARCers, but they didn’t seem to catch them. So after two months of jilling around the bay, Judge Pugh fires a couple rounds (hi, Judge Holmes) across their collective bows.

“To facilitate informal resolution of the pending discovery disputes, the Court ordered that the parties agree to a list of topics/questions for use in an interview of a representative of petitioner by the IRS. It appears from dueling status reports that in the two months between the… hearing and the…deadline for submission of status reports, little progress has been made.” Order, at p. 1.

So Judge Pugh gets pithy.

“The Court is disappointed in the failure of counsel to cooperate in preparing this case for trial, especially the parties’ inability to communicate. As the parties are unwilling to cooperate on informal discovery (e.g., the proposed interview), we will not pursue any further measures intended to facilitate preparation of this case for trial through informal means. Rather we will direct the parties to our Order… which sets forth specific deadlines for formal discovery, stipulations and other pre-trial matters. The Court admonishes the parties that the failure to cooperate on developing the case for trial will only increase the time and expense of trial for the parties and add to the uncertainty of litigation (for example without stipulations the parties will not know what documents and facts are admitted into evidence until trial). While we urge the parties to work together consistent with this Court’s Rules and precedents, we will not spend judicial resources to assist the parties in preparing this case for trial unless and until the parties demonstrate that time so spent will be well spent.” Order, at p. 1.

And don’t play freeze-the-puck-and-take-the-faceoff.

“We also warn the parties that we will not be extending pre-trial deadlines set forth in our pretrial scheduling order, or the … trial date without good cause. The parties’ failure to cooperate and failure to stipulate do not constitute good cause.” Order, at p. 2.

And just in case y’all weren’t listening, guys: “Lastly, we remind counsel of section 6673(a)(2) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended: “Whenever it appears to the Tax Court that any attorney or other person admitted to practice before the Tax Court has multiplied the proceedings in any case unreasonably and vexatiously, the Tax Court may require — (A) that such attorney or other person pay personally the excess costs, expenses, and attorneys’ fees reasonably incurred because of such conduct, or (B) if such attorney is appearing on behalf of the Commissioner of Internal Revenue, that the United States pay such excess costs, expenses, and attorneys’ fees in the same manner as such an award by a district court.” Order, at p. 2.

Read and heed, all you dilatory bombardiers.

 

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

w

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: