In Uncategorized on 01/04/2021 at 20:36

Tax Court remains coy, doubtless drying its metaphorical skirts after releasing the flood at Dawson’s Creek. So we have no opinions today.

Orders remain shrouded. My phonecalls to the Clerk and to Ch J Maurice B (“Mighty Mo”) Foley, seeking copies of any and all orders, remain unreturned. I should be sad to think that journalists are as disliked at the judicial branch as they have been at the executive branch. But Scarlett O’Hara is right; tomorrow is another day.

Some orders are accessible on Dawson, if one has patience and the docket number of the order sought. All the links I so carefully provided in my blogposts these last ten (count ’em, ten) years are inoperative now. So, like Ibsen’s picaresque hero, you will have to go round about.

I will spare my readers, if any remain, a diatribe, philippic, or polemic on the shambolic schemozzle that the lash-up launch of the present website has been.

  1. I shared with you my 12/31/2020 email to the dawson help folks at the tax court. In case you didn’t memorize it, here’s the text of what I sent to the dawson support email address in response to the “upgraded” tax court website:

    *Dear website designers*

    *As a real property appraiser, I rely on the tax court site to keep current with matters related to my practice and my teaching. What has happened to it?!*

    *Specifically:* *- where does one find daily announcements of orders without having a case no or petitioner’s name?* *- the “case search” function is limited to docket no & petitioner name. Why?* *- the “petitioner name” search function appears to be broken. For example, searching for “Hewitt” in “Alabama” produces no hits. Obviously, this is incorrect.* *- Since, thanks to the prior website, I know the docket no and already have a copy of T.C. Memo 2020-89, I searched for “23809-17.” The result is a message that the case is sealed. I doubt this is true.*

    *The prior site may have been imperfect and perhaps it had backroom processing issues not visible to the public, but the new site is not an improvement.*

    *Please timely restore its functionality.*

    *Mark Weston* *303-898-0244*

    Surprisingly, they responded the very next day, January 1:

    Thanks for getting in touch and for sharing your ideas for how the system can improve! We’re always looking to hear how we can better meet your needs, and although we don’t publicly comment on our roadmap of features, we regularly use feedback like this to help ensure we’re on track and make adjustments.

    We are adding Order and Opinion search as soon as we can. Please keep an eye out for it.

    What additional features would you like to see for the Case Search?

    We do observe one result, 17191-92, for a search for “Hewitt” in “Alabama”. [*mea culpa – I missed this by not scrolling down far enough on the “hits” screen*]

    In fact we have some improvements coming to the Petitioner name search coming very soon. We will keep this ticket open, and inform you when the improvements have been made.

    Regarding 23809-17, that case is presently sealed. We are working out a way to seal individual documents to be able to open up the rest of the case. We hope to have this improvement. [*This really is a shocker. W**hy, Mr. Taishoff, do you think this case (Hewitt v. Comm’r, 119 T.C.M.) was sealed by the tax court sometime well after it issued its opinion on June 17, 2020. As we know from North American Land Trust’s December 2020 amicus brief, it’s been appealed to the 11th. What is served by sealing the trial court’s record??]*

    Thanks again for your feedback, and we appreciate your patience as we launch and continue to improve DAWSON.

    Mark Weston


  2. Mr Weston, answering your question, I have no idea why Hewitt, or any other case where an opinion, whether full-dress T. C., T. C. Memo., T. C. Sum.Op., or even an off-the-bencher, has been issued, would be sealed. I expect that all documents that reveal personally identifiable information would be sealed per Section 6103. The text of the opinion and any decision thereon should be public. I expect to have more to say about DAWSON at no very distant date.


  3. My biggest complaint: no keyword search. How can I look at the cases that deal with a specific topic – for example, surrogacy expenses – when I need to have every case’s docket information in which to do so? That’s utterly ridiculous.

    I had the pleasure of meeting Judge Dawson personally, and hearing his story of how he was appointed by President Kennedy. He was an amazing man, a great storyteller, and a sharp intellect. As others have said, he deserves better.


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