In Uncategorized on 06/15/2018 at 00:49

Maybe not the seven times seventy freebies directed by a much more exalted authority, but that Obliging Jurist, Judge David Gustafson, has given Douglas Stauffer Bell & Nancy Clark Bell, Docket No. 1973-10L, filed 6/14/18, more than a couple of outs.

Now maybe Doug & Nancy were perplexed; see my blogpost “Forms and Letters,” 6/5/17. But their three (count ‘em, three) tossed bankruptcy petitions (each for failure to comply) don’t show much perplexity.

And Judge Gustafson made sure that, if and when Doug & Nancy stiped to anything, they wouldn’t waive their right to appeal any decision Judge Gustafson made. So he remanded Doug & Nancy to Appeals, whereat they supplied no Form 433-A and related info.

Of course the supplemental NOD sustained the NITL.

Doug & Nancy aren’t finished. Judge Gustafson warned them that no appeal lies from an order denying jurisdiction over the NFTL (as opposed to the NITL; see my blogpost above-stated); there has to be a decision. They nevertheless appealed.

And 4 Cir duly tossed their premature appeal.

So Judge Gustafson holds a phoneathon and tells Doug & Nancy, and IRS, to play nice; he even gives Doug & Nancy a list of LITCs. But IRS tips off Judge Gustafson that Doug & Nancy stand mute.

So Judge Gustafson in today’s order gives a timeline on this eight-year-long story. Doug & Nancy thrice got the 11USC§368 automatic stay and got tossed each time for noncompliance; got a remand to Appeals but failed to provide financial info, leading to another toss; and “pursued in this case–in disregard of this Court’s previous explanation of the proper occasion to appeal an adverse decision–a premature and pointless appeal to the U.S. Court of Appeals that was dismissed for reasons consistent with this Court’s explanation.” Order, at p. 7.

Judge Gustafson is a patient man, an obliging sort, but Doug & Nancy are pushing the cliché a wee bit too hard.

“Our order of March 22, 2018 (ECF 56) was intended to provide the Bells with one last opportunity–and to spur them on–to provide information to the Commissioner’s counsel in order to substantiate any contentions they may wish to make at trial or, in the alternative, facilitate a settlement of some or all of the issues remaining in this case. We took the extraordinary step of scheduling this case for trial at a special trial session, on a date that would give petitioners a 4-1/2-months-long opportunity to prepare for trial. It appears that so far they have ignored this opportunity.” Order, at p. 7.

So does Judge Gustafson toss Doug & Nancy? Not for Judge Gustafson the “impulse of a baser mind,” as a much finer writer than I put it.

Rather, he tells Doug & Nancy to correct IRS’s status report, or tell Judge Gustafson if they mean to drop their case (hint, hint), or repent and play nice with IRS and tell Judge Gustafson what they’ve done to show their repentance.

And they can always have another phoneathon.




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