In Uncategorized on 08/10/2020 at 17:49

I have lamented the want of an Office for the Self Represented at the United States Tax Court. Often. As recently as four (count ’em, four) hours ago. On this very blog.

Even more often have I praised summary judgment. I denote this tool for discovery of disputed facts (and smoking out friend, foe, and judge) with the term summary J. I did not invent the phrase. I stole it from a classmate, a very fine man and brilliant lawyer, now deceased. The story he told was that, having won summary J in a big-ticket case as a junior partner in the firm where he spent more than forty years, he bought himself a fancy car and got a license plate that read “SUMMARYJ.”

I wonder what happened to the license plate.

But into the breach steps that Obliging Jurist, Judge David Gustafson. And conforming to current judicial fashions, he’s obliging even to corporations, treating them like people.

James G. Garcia, Inc., Docket No. 14222-19L, filed 8/10/20, is facing a summary J motion off a CDP.

Now maybe James G. Garcia, Inc., has counsel in the wings, waiting to file Entry of Appearance and send in a devastating cross-motion. Or maybe not. Anyway, James G. Garcia, Inc., managed to file an Ownership Disclosure, which has daunted many another self represented.

But Judge Gustafson is taking no chances. He gives James G. Garcia, Inc., the full treatment.

“The Commissioner’s motion asserts that no trial is necessary in this case, because (the Commissioner says) no relevant facts are in dispute. The motion contends that, on the basis of the undisputed facts, the case can be decided in the Commissioner’s favor. The Court will order petitioner James G. Garcia, Inc., to file a response to the Commissioner’s motion.

“If petitioner disagrees with the facts set out in paragraphs 1-23 of the ‘Facts’ section of Commissioner’s motion for summary judgment, then his response should point out the specific facts in dispute. Petitioner’s response should state, by number, any assertion with which he disagrees, should explain the reason for his disagreement, and should cite whatever evidence supports his position. If petitioner disagrees with the Commissioner’s argument as to the law (in paragraphs 24-36 of the Commissioner’s motion), then his response should also set out its position on the disputed legal issues. Q&As that the Court has prepared on the subject ‘What is a motion for summary judgment? How should I respond to one?’ are available at the Court’s website and are printed on the page attached to this order.” Order, at p. 1.

Standard, right? Language more or less like this is found in many an order. As is the follow-up, the usual caution that if James G. Garcia, Inc., does not respond, it will lose.

But Judge Gustafson goes the extra couple furlongs (hi, Judge Holmes).

“If petitioner is unsure how to proceed, he [sic] should promptly initiate a telephone conference with the Court and the Commissioner by placing a call to the Chambers Administrator of the undersigned judge (at 202-521-0850).” Order, at p. 1.

Pro ses, take down that number.



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