In Uncategorized on 11/08/2017 at 17:33

Lest it appear that I’m an ungrateful guest, I acknowledge the generosity and good fellowship of my esteemed colleague Peter Reilly, CPA, ace blogger at It was a fun lunch today, my friend, and safe travels back to the Back Bay. I gratefully acknowledge your permission to post on one of the topics we discussed over le hamburger and le croque monsieur.

A case in point: The Coca-Cola Company and Subsidiaries, Docket No. 31183-15, filed 11/8/17.

Judge Lauber spends fourteen (count ‘em, fourteen) pages of his Order mixing and matching, tailoring, trimming, cutting, redacting and detracting from the transcripts, filings, and exhibits that the Cokers want to put in on the trial, so that we, the public, can see everything not utterly protectable by trade secret and privilege. Homage to Section 7461(a).

Judge Lauber diligently guards both the Cokers’ rights and privileges, and the public’s right to see justice done and the whys and wherefores thereof.

I won’t even try to digest the meticulous approach Judge Lauber takes. Read the order; it is a masterpiece of judicial surgery*.

OK, Judge Lauber lets us in on whatever the law allows.

All we have to do is surry down to the stoned soul picnic at 400 Second Street, NW, politely ask the clerk to open the voluminous file, and while away our idle hours reading. That is, those of us who don’t have day jobs.

Now if Tax Court were on the PACER system or equivalent, we could follow the advice of Ireland’s great poet and lengthen our days by stealing a few hours from the night, lighting the darkness with the glistering glow from our laptops, and paging through the night over that which Judge Lauber so painstakingly and scrupulously has excised and extracted for our edification.

But no. Tax Court’s lowly Article One online lips are sealed. Only orders, opinions and decisions are to be had on the world-wide web. As the Sweet Swan of Avon put it so well, “the rest is silence.”

Judge Lauber’s labor’s lost for the greatest majority of his fans.

So c’mon, Tax Court, let it all hang out. Put the backstories on line. Bankruptcy Court does, USDCs and CCAs do, why not you?

*Edited to add, 8/28/21: Except you can’t read it, because the Stealth Genius Baristas have blocked the entire docket, even though this Order was online for the world to see when it was issued. DAWSON, what sins are committed in thy name!

  1. Lew, you are correct. Only documents originated by the Tax Court are shown on-line. If the document is public, that is one can go into Tax Court and view the document, it should be publically available on the website. Transparency by geographically limited public disclosure is not good public policy in 2017.


  2. It was a great lunch. I expect that the movie version will compete with My Dinner with Andre. And I have to salute you on Veterans Day. Believe it or not, but while you were in a machine gun tower somewhere in Vietnam in 1969, I was a high school lad in an Army issued JROTC getting lectures in Counterinsurgency from a major just back and soon to return. The lottery would shortly go into effect and I drew 349.

    As Doctor Johnson said “Every man thinks meanly of himself for not having been a soldier or been to sea” so you’ve got me there.


  3. […] Tashoff, referring to our lunchtime discussion of this and other matters, in Judge Lauber Makes It Public – Hurrah!, which discusses an order to put the brakes on Coca-Cola keeping details of its litigation out of […]


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