In Uncategorized on 05/22/2020 at 16:35

Locked-down and sequestered as I am, I approach nostalgia as I think about the days when I had clients. They were so varied, and yet so alike. The experiences I had were often surreal, an endless loop of L’année Dernière à Marienbad, interspersed with silent-film comedy reels. And all the while shooting down the sharp, clear, technical slalom of New York City real estate, negotiating gates at high speed, in an adrenaline-fueled euphoria. You truly couldn’t make that stuff up.

So when I read Judge David Gustafson’s admonition to Robert Bruce Blackmer, Docket No. 8091-19S, filed 5/22/20, the warm wave of recognition that broke over me as I rolled through the surf of memory brought a wrinkled smile to my ancient visage.

This is really too good to paraphrase.

“…the Commissioner filed a status report that states: ‘On April 28, 2020, respondent’s counsel and petitioner discussed the case and status reports telephonically, and petitioner stated that he will hire an attorney two months before the trial and that the case is not susceptible to settlement at this time.’” Order, at p. 1.

Oh, and by the way, Robert and IRS had a Branerton conference in February.

On this schedule, by the time Robert has retained counsel (if anyone other than a pro bono will take a small-claimer), discovery will be complete and Robert will have a bunch of Rule 37s, 90s and 91s wrapped around him tighter than snakes on Laocoön. With summary J to follow.

Judge Gustafson, obliging as ever, cautions Robert. “The Court advises Mr. Blackmer that he should not delay by planning to ‘hire an attorney two months before the trial’. Experience teaches that by that time, it would be too late for the new attorney to prepare the case for trial. The new attorney would want to propose that the trial date be continued so that he can properly prepare the case, but Rule 133, sent. 5, provides: ‘[E]mployment of new counsel ordinarily will not be regarded as ground for continuance.’ Mr. Blackmer should either handle this case himself without counsel or should now hire counsel promptly.” Order, at p. 1. (Emphasis by the Court).

In the meantime, let IRS serve their Branertons by the end of June.

You know what’s going to happen. If Robert shows up for trial at all, he’ll ask for more time because he can’t find a lawyer.

Edited to add, 5/23/20: For a masterclass in this sort of thing, see my blogpost “Quo Usque Tandem Abutare, Alexander, Patientia Nostra?” 5/13/13.


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