In Uncategorized on 04/27/2023 at 12:52

I add Judge Christian N (“Speedy”) Weiler’s admonition to Timothy Hildebrand, Docket No. 3791-21, filed 4/27/23, to my overflowing list of “Those who need it won’t read it, and those who read it don’t need it” items. Two (count ’em, two) years after petitioning, all the while making motions and entering into a stiped decision and order, Tim moves to seal the entire docket, although his original petition neither disclosed his SSAN nor his income.

“Generally, official records of all courts are open and available to the public for inspection and copying. As a general rule the official records of the Tax Court are open and available to the public for inspection and copying. Thus, when one files a lawsuit, one generally steps into the light.” Order, at p. 2 (Citations omitted). Or, as the hockey players say, “You step on the ice, you gonna get hit.”

Tim has concerns, and they aren’t frivolous. “Petitioner’s concerns about identity theft are not by any means frivolous. All litigants, including the roughly 30,000 taxpayers who file petitions in this Court every year, share those concerns.” Order, at p. 2.

But Rule 27(a), with which Tim complied and which he never suggests has been violated in his case, provides what protection Tax Court can give him.

“Petitioner has not demonstrated that the presumption in favor of access to the Court’s records is overcome. In filing his Petition more than two years ago, petitioner did not keep confidential his information and other facts reflected in his Petition or the record. While he alleges the risk of economic harm, petitioner fails to state any exceptional circumstances that exist in his own case. We therefore hold that he has not made a showing that the sealing of the record in his case is warranted.” Order, at p. 3.

Takeaway (unnecessary for my readers, but for the record): If you want sealing, request at petition. Tell your story and make it good.


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