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Monday, April 26, 2004

U.S. Supreme Court Grants Cert. on Access to Special Trial Judge Reports

Monday, April 26, 2004

Leandra Lederman (George Mason) reports that the US Supreme Court granted certiorari today in two cases involving Tax Court Rule 183 (the procedure relating to Special Trial Judge reports in cases involving over $50,000):

The cases are Ballard v. Commissioner and Estate of Kanter v. Commissioner. Both of these cases are appeals from Investment Research Associates v. Commissioner, in which the Tax Court issued an order refusing to release to the parties the report of the Special Trial Judge who heard the case and refusing to include the report in the record on appeal. The refusal is consistent with the Tax Court's practice since 1984, when amendments to Rule 183 took effect.
Investment Research Associates was appealed to three circuits. None of them found in favor of the taxpayer on the issue of the Special Trial Judge report (which was argued primarily as a due process issue) but Judge Cudahy filed a long and powerful dissent in Kanter. There are a number of interesting aspects to these cases, including the fact that an attorney for the taxpayers filed an affidavit stating that two Tax Court judges told him that the Tax Court opinion, which found against the taxpayers on multi-million dollar fraud issues, did not reflect the findings of the Special Trial Judge who heard the case. Also, Kanter involves the estate of Burton Kanter, who was a well-known tax attorney and an adjunct professor at Chicago Law School for about 10 years.
The Courts of Appeals' decisions in Ballard and Kanter arguably are in conflict with a 1989 decision of the DC Circuit, Stone v. Commissioner. That case involved the prior version of Rule 183 (then Rule 182), but the language it interpreted was not changed when the rule was amended. The government opposed certiorari in Ballard and Kanter. It will be very interesting to see what the Court does.

For Professor Lederman's March 22 article on this topic in Tax Notes, see here. For a front-page National Law Journal story on the topic, see here.

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Comments

Incredible... My brief is going to walk all over yours.

Posted by: Law student | Sep 27, 2004 12:37:33 AM