Судебные дела / Зарубежная практика / ESTATE OF MARY V. ALLISON, DONOR, DECEASED, DANIEL B. ALLISON, II, PERSONAL REPRESENTATIVE, Petitioner v. COMMISSIONER OF INTERNAL REVENUE, Respondent; ESTATE OF MARY V. ALLISON, DECEASED, DANIEL B. ALLISON, II, PERSONAL REPRESENTATIVE, Petitioner v. COMMISSIONER OF INTERNAL REVENUE, Respondent., UNITED STATES TAX COURT - MEMORANDUM DECISION, T.C. Memo. 2008-149, Docket Nos. 247-00, 714-00., Filed June 10, 2008
ESTATE OF MARY V. ALLISON, DONOR, DECEASED, DANIEL B. ALLISON, II, PERSONAL REPRESENTATIVE, Petitioner v. COMMISSIONER OF INTERNAL REVENUE, Respondent; ESTATE OF MARY V. ALLISON, DECEASED, DANIEL B. ALLISON, II, PERSONAL REPRESENTATIVE, Petitioner v. COMMISSIONER OF INTERNAL REVENUE, Respondent., UNITED STATES TAX COURT - MEMORANDUM DECISION, T.C. Memo. 2008-149, Docket Nos. 247-00, 714-00., Filed June 10, 2008
ESTATE OF MARY V. ALLISON, DONOR, DECEASED, DANIEL B. ALLISON, II, PERSONAL REPRESENTATIVE, Petitioner v. COMMISSIONER OF INTERNAL REVENUE, Respondent; ESTATE OF MARY V. ALLISON, DECEASED, DANIEL B. ALLISON, II, PERSONAL REPRESENTATIVE, Petitioner v. COMMISSIONER OF INTERNAL REVENUE, Respondent.
UNITED STATES TAX COURT - MEMORANDUM DECISION
T.C. Memo. 2008-149
Docket Nos. 247-00, 714-00.
Filed June 10, 2008.
Daniel B. Allison, II , for petitioners
Michael T. Sargent , for respondent.
HOLMES, Judge : Mary Allison died in 1995. Her son, Daniel Allison, is an attorney and the personal representative of her estate. He opened a probate case shortly after her death in Seattle's King County Superior Court. It is still not closed. Mr. Allison also filed two Tax Court cases for the estate in early 2000. Neither of them has been closed. It appears that Mr. Allison has been telling our Court that resolution of the probate case is all that's needed to wrap up the Tax Court cases, and telling the King County Superior Court that resolution of the Tax Court cases is all that's needed to wrap up the probate case. We issued an order to Mr. Allison to show cause why we shouldn't sanction him for his misrepresentations. This opinion explains the reasons for our decision to make that order absolute.
The combined records of the probate and tax cases support the following timeline:
We must now decide whether to sanction Mr. Allison.
From the comparison of the documents filed with this Court and with the King County Superior Court, we believe that Mr. Allison is taking advantage of the calendar system of both courts to indefinitely postpone the resolution of the probate case and the Tax Court cases. We find that he deliberately and repeatedly told each court that the other matter had to be resolved first, and in doing so, he has misled and misinformed this Court.
Section 6673 1 says in part:
1 ═ Unless otherwise indicated, all section references are to the Internal Revenue Code.
SEC. 6673 (a). Tax Court Proceedings.--
(1) Procedures instituted primarily for delay, etc.--Whenever it appears to the Tax Court that--
(A) proceedings before it have been instituted or maintained by the taxpayer primarily for delay, the Tax Court, in its decision, may require the taxpayer to pay to the United States a penalty not in excess of $25,000.
* * * * * * *
(2) Counsel's liability for excessive costs.--Whenever it appears to the Tax Court that any attorney or other person admitted to practice before the Tax Court has multiplied the proceedings in any case unreasonably and vexatiously, the Tax Court may require--
(A) that such attorney or other person pay personally the excess costs, expenses, and attorneys' fees reasonably incurred because of such conduct * * *
This penalty is used to "sanction and deter the use of false documents and testimony and to protect the integrity of our proceedings from intentional misconduct." Bagby v. Commissioner , 102 T.C. 596, 615 (1994).
Section 6673(a)(1) permits us to impose sanctions against the taxpayer--the estate in this case. In Williams v. Commissioner , 119 T.C. 276 (2002), an individual income tax case brought by a pro se petitioner, we imposed a $25,000 sanction under section 6673 after we found that the taxpayer had intentionally delayed the case by serially filing bad faith bankruptcy cases (and even forging what looked like bankruptcy court documents). We later discovered that he was allowing the bankruptcy cases to linger just long enough to invoke the automatic stay to delay trial in this Court. This outrageous behavior also prompted us to punish his dishonesty with an additional $5,000 penalty for criminal contempt under section 7456. Id . at 282-83.
In this case, though, we think it more appropriate to sanction Mr. Allison personally in his role as the estate's attorney, so that any other beneficiaries of the estate don't suffer for his actions. Section 6673(a)(2)(A) gives us the power to make Mr. Allison himself pay any fees or excessive costs that the Commissioner has incurred as a result of his bad behavioractions which have "multiplied the proceedings * * * unreasonably and vexatiously."
Mr. Allison repeatedly requested continuances from this Court, telling us that he was pursuing the probate case diligently while repeatedly telling the probate court that he was moving forward in the Tax Court cases. He also has failed on many occasions to timely satisfy this Court's requests and orders. His failure to submit information regarding the status of the probate case that we requested in 2005 is especially notable, since it would likely have helped us catch his serial misrepresentations sooner.
Mr. Allison's education and legal experience, not to mention his admission to the Tax Court bar, underscore the egregiousness of his conduct. The issues in both cases before us are fairly simple and should have been resolved long ago. Instead, the cases before us have dragged on for over eight years, and the probate case has lingered for more than a decade. We therefore
find that he used procedures of our Court primarily for delay, and in doing so was repeatedly dishonest. Mr. Allison's persistence in the face of warnings from both courts thus warrants a penalty under section 6673(a)(2). That section requires a determination of the costs imposed on the Commissioner, and we will order the Commissioner to file evidence of what those costs were.
Because Mr. Allison is an attorney currently admitted to practice before the Tax Court, other sanctions may be appropriate. We will also send this opinion (and the order to show cause dated March 7, 2008) to the King County Superior Court for their consideration in In re Estate of Allison , No. 95-4-03740-0.
An appropriate order will be issued.