SIBLA v. COMMISSIONERDocket No. 15327-80.
45 T.C.M. 294 (1982)
T.C. Memo. 1982-710
Richard R. Sibla and Dora G. Sibla
United States Tax Court.
Filed December 7, 1982.
Richard R. Sibla and Dora G. Sibla, pro se, Woodland Hills, Calif. Patrick Putzi and Dennis Brager, for the respondent.
This case was assigned to Special Trial Judge Francis J. Cantrel for the purpose of conducting the hearing and ruling on respondent's Motion to Impose Sanctions under Rule 104(c)(3). After a review of the record, we agree with and adopt his opinion which is set forth below.
Opinion of the Special Trial Judge
CANTREL, Special Trial Judge:
This case is before the Court on respondent's Motion to Impose Sanctions under Tax Court Rule 104(c)(3), filed on October 22, 1982.
Respondent, in his Notice of Deficiency issued to petitioners on May 14, 1980, determined a deficiency in petitioners' Federal income tax and an addition to the tax for the taxable calendar year 1977 in the following respective amounts:
Addition to Tax, I. R. C. 1954 Year Income Tax Section 6653(a)
31977 ..... $18,218.00 ........ $1,097.00
The adjustments to petitioners' income as determined by respondent in his deficiency notice are as follows:
Interest income ............. $ 3,207.00 Gross rental income ......... 29,670.00 Adjustments to income ....... 31,501.00 Distributions from trust .... (23,022.00) ___________ $ 41,356.00
Petitioners resided at 23541 Collins Street, Woodland Hills, California on the date the petition was filed. They filed a joint 1977 Federal income tax return with the Internal Revenue Service. On October 6, 1980, respondent filed his answer. Thus, the pleadings are closed. See Rules 34, 36, 38 and 70(a)(2).
By letter dated May 21, 1982, respondent attempted to make arrangements for informal consultations with petitioners, as required by this Court's rules and the mandate of its opinions.
Thereafter, respondent on June 22, 1982, served on petitioners a request for production of documents. See Rule 72. An examination of those requests reveals that they seek documents relevant and material to the issues at dispute herein, i.e., with respect to the petitioners and the Richard R. Sibla Equity Pure Trust. When petitioners failed to timely respond thereto, respondent, pursuant to Rule 104(b), filed a Motion to Compel Compliance on July 27, 1982. A copy of that motion together with a copy of the Court's Notice of Filing, giving petitioners until August 13, 1982 in which to file a response, were served on petitioners by the Court on July 30, 1982. Petitioners filed a Notice of Objection on August 9, 1982 in which we are advised —
Since petitioners did not comply with our August 20, 1982 Order respondent, on October 22, 1982 filed his motion herein under consideration. That motion was calendared for hearing at Washington, D.C. on November 24, 1982. As noted earlier herein petitioners did not appear at the hearing nor did they file a response to respondent's motion.
Petitioners' due process rights have not been abrogated or abridged here. Ginter v. Southern [80-1 USTC ¶ 9110],
Although given ample opportunity to comply with respondent's highly relevant document requests, petitioners have not done so and there is not one legally sufficient reason extant in this record to explain their failure to comply. They have, in essence, defied and ignored the notices and Orders issued to them by the Court and, by their inexcusable conduct, shown complete and utter disrespect for the rules of this Court. Indeed, their failure to act has cost them their "day in Court".
As we view this record, respondent's discovery requests sought documents relevant and material to the issues at dispute. Petitioners simply have made no attempt to comply with those requests despite a specific order of this Court directing them to do so.
Rule 104, respecting enforcement actions and sanctions, provides in pertinent part as follows:
In the circumstances of this case, we conclude that petitioners' persistent, stubborn and, thus, unwarranted and unjustified conduct constitutes a default and that dismissal of this case for failure to comply with our rules and a specific order of this Court is, albeit a severe sanction, appropriate under Rule 104(c)(3). See Eisele v. Commissioner [78-2 USTC ¶ 9719],
An appropriate order and decision will be entered.
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