Attorney-at-Law

FLOOD THE ZONE

In Uncategorized on 08/08/2017 at 16:40

An old football tactic, where passcatchers gang up on defenders, seems to be the latest gimmick in IRS’s cubby of crafty moves, where they keep their best ways to blow off pro se litigants. Here’s Judge Cohen to deliver a rebuke to such gaming the system.

Meet Joseph H. Hunt, Docket No. 30295-15, filed 8/8/17. Joe’s starring in a designated hitter, and did he ever get hit.

IRS makes the standard motions to produce documents and to compel responses to interrogatories. Maybe Joe didn’t follow the Branerton play-nice rule. Many pro ses get the deer-in-the-headlights reaction to a Branerton show-and-tellagram.

So Joe has to hand over all the documents IRS wants, with one (unstated) exception.

But when it comes to the interrogatories, IRS’ cutseyness hits a snag.

“It appears to the Court that the interrogatories, with multiple pages of convoluted instructions and definitions served on an unrepresented taxpayer, are excessive under Rule 71(a) and should be limited under Rule 70(c), Tax Court Rules of Practice and Procedure. See Pleier v. Commissioner, 92 T.C. 499 (1989).” Order, at p. 1.

Judge Holmes also called out IRS for zone-flooding in the interrogatories in my blogpost “Deft And Slimy,” 4/1/16, when IRS tried to duck the Rule 71(a) 25 interrog limit by putting in subparts and subsections.

Now the game is shooting out pages of instructions, definitions, smoke, dust and mirrors, to befog, bludgeon and bewilder the pro se.

That might work in a big-ticket fistfight where the numbers exclude the last six digits, and the lawyers all wear custom-made tassel loafers and Gieves & Hawks suits. Cf., as these same high-priced dudes say, my blogpost “Win Your Case at Discovery – Part Deux,” 2/24/15.

But Judge Cohen wants IRS counsel to show up in The City by the Bay next month and explain why the zone was flooded on Joe. And Joe can come, too.

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