In Uncategorized on 08/23/2017 at 15:07

Today’s Tax Court orders provide me with the opportunity to take a quick peek into the Judges’ toolbox, to see what goodies the guys on the bench have waiting to encourage the dilatory and aid the uncertain, who throng the halls of justice.

Let’s start with Judge Ruwe’s means of dealing with inappropriate replies, or failures to reply, to demands for admissions. Here’s Casey A. Jones, Docket No. 11285-16, filed 8/23/17.

Casey, reply appropriately or else.

“Failure to comply with this Order may result in sanctions pursuant to Tax Court Rules 90(g) and 104(c), including:

“(1) An order that the matter regarding which the order was made or any other designated facts shall be taken to be established for the purposes of the case in accordance with the claim of the party obtaining the order.

“(2) An order refusing to allow the disobedient party to support or oppose designated claims or defenses, or prohibiting such party from introducing designated matters in evidence.

“(3) An order striking out pleadings or parts thereof, staying further proceedings until the order is obeyed, dismissing the case or any part thereof, or rendering a judgment by default against the disobedient party.

“(4) In lieu of the foregoing orders or in addition thereto, the Court may treat as a contempt of the Court the failure to obey any such order, and the Court may also require the party failing to obey the order or counsel advising such party, or both, to pay the reasonable expenses, including counsel’s fees, caused by the failure, unless the Court finds that the failure was substantially justified or that other circumstances make an award of expenses unjust.” Order, at pp. 1-2.

Now here’s Judge Halpern counseling IRS, whistleblowers and their counsel how to conform redacted (that’s edited, for you civilians) documents to unredacted (the whole story, with names and numbers) exhibits, without falling foul of the secrecy rules of Section 6103.

Case in point is Whistleblower 11099-13W, filed 8/23/17.

“A party submitting a redacted document shall submit a reference list, see Rule 345, that identifies each item of redacted information and specifies the ‘appropriate identifier’ that uniquely corresponds to each item listed. For this purpose, the ‘appropriate identifier’ shall not be a numeral, since numerals make the document difficult to understand and cannot be used by the Court in drafting an intelligible order or opinion. Rather, the identifiers shall instead be more descriptive terms (such as ‘Company X’, ‘Subsidiary Y’, ‘Process Z’”, ‘$n dollars’, ‘Product 1’, and the like). To the extent possible, both parties shall consistently use the same identifiers in all exhibits. If there is a substantial possibility that the choice of an identifier n ay be controversial, the parties shall before the submission, attempt to resolve that controversy and choose a mutually agreeable identifier.” Order, at p. 2.

And this one’s really hush-hush, with the public excluded from the trial and only the A List people can attend. I wonder if they’ve logged onto Amazon to get Jeff Bezos’ flaming sword.

If the last remark puzzles you, see my blogpost “The Man of Mystery – Revealed,” 10/21/14.



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