Attorney-at-Law

ZOOM CONQUERS ALL

In Uncategorized on 08/10/2021 at 17:12

Truly, it’s a very ill wind that doesn’t blow somebody some good. The damage done by this pandemic needs no cataloging from me; I’m sure every one of my readers has their own account.

Today I find some hope, although obliquely. The Tax Court Request for Place of Trial, Form 5, with its built-in traps for the unwary, should be moved to the trash. The Zoomietrials have been going on since last summer, with no reported ill effects. Cases have been placed on nominally-geographical trial calendars for ease of administration, but the litigants can argue their motions and try their cases anywhere they can get reliable, secure internet connections. And VPN protocols have proven themselves.

Example of the traps aforesaid: Jason Edward Heggie, Docket No. 13076-21, filed 8/10/21. JE moves to change place of trial to Fresno, CA. A docket search shows trial was set for San Francisco, with the usual order stating that, as JE hadn’t picked any place, Ch J Maurice B (“Mighty Mo”) Foley would give him one at no extra charge. And JE could always move to change it. So he did.

But Fresno, CA, is strictly small-claimersville. And Jason didn’t elect small-claims treatment. Ch J Mighty Mo doesn’t say JE would qualify, but suggests JE might want to look at the Tax Court website and decide. The site says small claimers are held in fifteen (count ’em, fifteen) more cities than regular. So maybe it’s easier for JE to go to Fresno than San Francisco for calendar call and trial.

Except.

Location shouldn’t matter in the Zoomietrial age. Why must a petitioner (most of whom are unrepresented) exchange right of appeal for an easier commute?

The real considerations for going small should be getting evidence admitted (although most evidence can be stiped in), and a hope that, if, as the old saying has it, “hard cases make bad law” a judge will cut you more slack in a case that’s non-appealable and non-precedential, and that only Taishoff will notice.

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