No, not the 1975 Broadway play, nor the 1978 movie of that name. This is yet another variation on the Delay of the Game gambit, which I more thoroughly discussed in my blogposts “Yonder Come Day,” 7/30/13, and “Delay of the Game,” 7/12/13.
Tax Court holds moveable feasts as it traverses this broad land of ours. It stays not over long in any locale. And it alights in some of its far-flung localities but once in a twelvemonth.
Thus Judge Pugh gets a trifle testy with Al Benavides & Louise A. Benavides, Docket No. 06840-14, filed 3/3/17.
Al & Lou hang out in MT, and have twice continued (that’s adjourned, for us State courtiers) their trial in Missoula, MT. Now their trusty attorney, whom I’ll call Stu, moves yet again to continue (adjourn).
Judge Pugh has a practical approach.
“The Court conducts trial sessions in Montana once a year, so any continuance of these cases would result in a delay of trial for another year and [Stu’s] affidavit indicates that respondent objects to the continuance.” Order, at p. 1.
So let each side file its own status report “…detailing all steps taken (1) to resolve these cases without trial, (2) to stipulate to facts and documents, (3) to narrow issues for trial.” Order, at p. 1.
And in addition, “(P)etitioners’ status report also shall address petitioners’ ability to proceed with other counsel or pro se.” Order, at p. 1.
I note that, back in 2015, when I suggested a change in the Tax Court Rules to require petitioners to state a reason for selecting the desired place of trial, the ABA Tax Section, of which illustrious body I am not a member, rejected my suggestion.
“Lewis Taishoff of The Taishoff Law Firm sent in a letter suggesting that Rule 140(a) require that a petition state a reason for the trial location preference. A petitioner is currently free to request a trial location from a list of as many as 74 locations (for small tax cases) in nearly every state without providing a reason.
“The ABA Tax Section letter disagrees with Taishoff’s suggestion, noting that pro se taxpayers already often complete the trial location request form incorrectly. The additional burden could increase petitioner confusion, according to that letter.”
It’s not the innocent who are confused, ABA Tax Section.