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Friday, April 20, 2012

Ind. Decisions - More on recent a tax court decision

Indiana Legislative Insight's April 23rd issue ($$) includes this item:

Well, it's not only Indiana Department of Revenue information technology and bean-counting personnel who are taking a hit from other top state officials. Add IDOR attorneys to the list of those being rapped by the powers that be. We've told you in these pages (and in much more detail in our sister newsletter, INDIANA GAMING INSIGHT) about the General Assembly seeking to have the Office of the Attorney general take over representation of the State in a specific tax case lost by IDOR in federal bankruptcy court and now on appeal (and OAG assuming that representation even after the bill in question failed due to other components). And last week, Indiana Tax Court Judge Martha Wentworth issues a ruling in Utilimaster Corp. v. Indiana Dept. of State Revenue, No. 71T10-1008-TA-43 [ILB summary here], that slams IDOR's legal team.

The matter came before the Tax Court on Revenue's motion to disqualify Utilimaster's attorneys pursuant to the Advocate-Witness Rule (a professional conduct rule), but Judge Wentworth saw right through the ploy in her 11-page opinion. Delivering a stinging rebuke to IDOR, she writes "The Department has invoked Professional Conduct Rule 3.7 in an attempt to conceal its failure to timely pursue discovery as well as to remove Utilimaster's attorneys from the case, calling their professionalism into question. The Court will not countenance the Rule's abuse as a procedural weapon by invading Utilimaster's right to counsel of its choice."

Posted by Marcia Oddi on April 20, 2012 11:20 AM
Posted to Ind. Tax Ct. Decisions