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Case TitleMertes v. Internal Revenue Service
DistrictEastern District of California
CityFresno
Case Number1:2019cv01218
Date Filed2019-09-03
Date ClosedOpen
JudgeDistrict Judge Anthony W. Ishii
PlaintiffBillie Mertes
Case DescriptionBillie Mertes submitted a FOIA request to the IRS for records concerning a copy of an allegedly fraudulent Form 709-Gift Tax Return for 2012 in which Mertes was assessed more than one million dollars in gift taxes. The agency told Mertes that requests for such tax information were processed through another administrative scheme and were not subject to FOIA. Mertes filed an administrative appeal which the agency denied. She then filed suit.
Complaint issues: Litigation - Attorney's fees

DefendantInternal Revenue Service
Documents
Docket
Complaint
Opinion/Order [11]
Opinion/Order [13]
Opinion/Order [17]
Opinion/Order [24]
Opinion/Order [26]
Opinion/Order [31]
FOIA Project Annotation: A federal court in California has ruled that the IRS may submit an in camera affidavit to justify its exemption claims made in FOIA litigation against Billie Mertes. Mertes had requested a gift and generation-skipping transfer tax form used to assess gift taxes against Mertes in the 2012 tax year. The agency asked the court to allow it to provide an in camera affidavit. Mertes argued that the IRS had not submitted any case law permitting an in camera submission on such a broad range of documents. But the court agreed that the IRS had shown the need for providing such an in camera affidavit. The court noted that "given the IRS's representations in two motions that no further information can be provided publicly, the Court will permit the IRS to attempt to demonstrate that this is an 'exceptional case'. . .and to submit the requested document for in camera review. No other procedure is apparent that does not risk disclosure of information that could otherwise be lawfully withheld."
Issues: Litigation - In camera review
Opinion/Order [37]
Opinion/Order [40]
User-contributed Documents
 
Docket Events (Hide)
Date FiledDoc #Docket Text

2019-09-031COMPLAINT for Declarative and Injunctive Relief against Internal Revenue Service by Billie Mertes.(Filing fee $ 400) (Speck, Christian) (Entered: 09/03/2019)
2019-09-03PAYMENT for Civil Case filing fee (Speck, Christian) (Entered: 09/03/2019)
2019-09-03PAYMENT for Civil Case filing fee (Speck, Christian) (Entered: 09/03/2019)
2019-09-03PAYMENT for Civil Case filing fee (Speck, Christian) (Entered: 09/03/2019)
2019-09-032CIVIL COVER SHEET by Billie Mertes (Speck, Christian) (Entered: 09/03/2019)
2019-09-033CLERK'S NOTICE to Attorney Christian Speck re 1 Complaint: Advance payment of the filing fee in the amount of $400.00 is required and should be submitted electronically using the event New Case Credit Card Payments. Your case will not be filed until the fee is paid (Local Rule 77-121c). If you wish to pay with cash, check or money order, the fee must be received by the clerk's office within 48 hours of lodging your complaint, or your documents will be deleted from the court's server. If you need assistance, please contact the CM/ECF help desk at 866-884-5444, or refer to theCM/ECF User's Manual on the court's website. (Sant Agata, S) (Entered: 09/03/2019)
2019-09-04RECEIPT number #CAE200100659 $400.00 fbo Wagner Kirkman Blaine by Wagner Kirkman Blaine on 9/4/2019. (Coll, A) (Entered: 09/04/2019)
2019-09-054SUMMONS ISSUED as to *Internal Revenue Service* with answer to complaint due within *30* days. Attorney *Christian Andrew Speck* *Wagner Kirkman Blaine Klomparens & Youmans LLP* *10640 Mather Blvd., #200* *Mather, CA 95655*. (Lundstrom, T) (Entered: 09/05/2019)
2019-09-055CIVIL NEW CASE DOCUMENTS ISSUED; Initial Scheduling Conference set for 12/17/2019 at 09:30 AM in Courtroom 7 (SKO) before Magistrate Judge Sheila K. Oberto. (Attachments: # 1 Consent Form, # 2 VDRP) (Lundstrom, T) (Entered: 09/05/2019)
2019-09-196SUMMONS RETURNED EXECUTED: Internal Revenue Service served on 9/11/2019, answer due 10/2/2019. (Speck, Christian) (Entered: 09/19/2019)
2019-10-027ANSWER by Internal Revenue Service. Attorney Miller, Emily Katherine added.(Miller, Emily) (Entered: 10/02/2019)
2019-12-108JOINT SCHEDULING REPORT by Internal Revenue Service. (Miller, Emily) (Entered: 12/10/2019)
2019-12-169MINUTE ORDER: (TEXT ENTRY ONLY) The parties are encouraged to appear telephonically for the upcoming Scheduling Conference set on 12/17/2019 before Judge Oberto and may do so by dialing 888-557-8511 (access code 6208204), at the time of the hearing. You shall email Courtroom Deputy Wendy Kusamura, at WKusamura@caed.uscourts.gov, to advise the court who will be appearing telephonically. Minute Order signed by Magistrate Judge Sheila K. Oberto on 12/16/2019. (Kusamura, W) (Entered: 12/16/2019)
2019-12-1710MINUTES (Text Only) for proceedings before Magistrate Judge Sheila K. Oberto: TELEPHONIC SCHEDULING CONFERENCE held on 12/17/2019. Order to follow. Plaintiffs Counsel Douglas Youmans and Christian Speck present. Defendants Counsel Emily Miller present. (Kusamura, W) (Entered: 12/17/2019)
2019-12-1811SCHEDULING ORDER: Motion Hearing set for 5/4/2020 at 01:30 PM in Courtroom 2 (AWI) before District Judge Anthony W. Ishii. Status Conference set for 7/16/2020 at 09:30 AM in Courtroom 7 (SKO) before Magistrate Judge Sheila K. Oberto, signed by Magistrate Judge Sheila K. Oberto on 12/17/2019. (Kusamura, W) (Entered: 12/18/2019)
2020-01-3112STIPULATION and PROPOSED ORDER for the adequacy of the Service's search for the requested records by Internal Revenue Service. (Miller, Emily) (Entered: 01/31/2020)
2020-01-3113JOINT STIPULATION AND ORDER signed by District Judge Anthony W. Ishii on 01/31/2020. (Gonzales, V) (Entered: 01/31/2020)
2020-02-1814MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT by Internal Revenue Service. Motion Hearing set for 5/4/2020 at 01:30 PM in Courtroom 2 (AWI) before District Judge Anthony W. Ishii. (Attachments: # 1 Redacted Statement of Undisputed Facts, # 2 Redacted Declaration of Amy Mielke, # 3 Proposed Order)(Miller, Emily) (Entered: 02/18/2020)
2020-02-1815MOTION for Leave to Submit Documents for the Court's In Camera Review re 14 Motion for Summary Judgment, by Internal Revenue Service. Motion Hearing set for 5/4/2020 at 01:30 PM in Courtroom 2 (AWI) before District Judge Anthony W. Ishii. (Attachments: # 1 Proposed Order)(Miller, Emily) (Entered: 02/18/2020)
2020-02-2816OPPOSITION by Billie Mertes to 15 Motion for Miscellaneous Relief,. (Attachments: # 1 Memorandum in Support of Opposition for Leave to Submit Documents for In Camera Review)(Speck, Christian) (Entered: 02/28/2020)
2020-03-0217ORDER REGARDING SCHEDULING ORDER, DEFENDANT'S MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT, DEFENDANT'S MOTION FOR IN CAMERA REVIEW, and ORDER VACATING MAY 4, 2020 HEARING, (Doc. Nos. 11 , 14 , 15 ) signed by District Judge Anthony W. Ishii on 03/02/2020. IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that the December 18, 2019 scheduling order is VACATED. The May 4, 2020 cross-motions hearing date is VACATED. Defendant's motion for summary judgment (Doc. No. 14 ) is administratively DENIED without prejudice. Within fourteen (14) days of service of this order, Defendant may file a supplemental motion for in camera review. Within fourteen (14) days of service of the supplemental motion for in camera review, Plaintiff shall file a response/opposition. Within ten (10) days of service of Plaintiff's response/opposition, the Defendant shall file a reply. If, after reviewing the supplemental briefing, the Court determines that a hearing is necessary, then the Court will issue a separate order setting a hearing date at that time. (Gonzales, V) (Entered: 03/02/2020)
2020-03-1618MOTION for Leave to Submit Documents for the Court's In Camera Review by Internal Revenue Service. (Attachments: # 1 Memorandum, # 2 Appendix of Unpublished Motions and Orders, # 3 Proposed Order)(Miller, Emily) (Entered: 03/16/2020)
2020-03-2519MOTION for EXTENSION OF TIME to Respond to Defendant Supp Motion re 18 Motion for Miscellaneous Relief by Billie Mertes. (Speck, Christian) (Entered: 03/25/2020)
2020-03-2520PROPOSED ORDER re Plaintiff Motion to Extend Time to Respond re 19 MOTION for EXTENSION OF TIME to Respond to Defendant Supp Motion re 18 Motion for Miscellaneous Relief by Billie Mertes. (Speck, Christian) (Entered: 03/25/2020)
2020-03-2521ORDER ON MOTION FOR AN EXTENSION OF TIME signed by District Judge Anthony W. Ishii on 03/25/2020. IT IS HEREBY ORDERED Plaintiff's motion for an extension of time (Doc. No. 19 ) is GRANTED. Plaintiff's response/opposition must be filed no later than May 29, 2020. Within ten (10) days of service of Plaintiff's response/opposition, the Defendant may file a reply. If, after reviewing the supplemental briefing, the Court determines that a hearing is necessary, then the Court will issue a separate order setting a hearing date at that time. (Gonzales, V) (Entered: 03/25/2020)
2020-05-2922OPPOSITION by Billie Mertes to 18 Motion for Miscellaneous Relief. (Attachments: # 1 Memorandum in Opposition to Motion for In Camera Hearing, # 2 Declaration of Mertes in Support of Opposition, # 3 Appendix in Opposition to Motion for In Camera Hearing)(Speck, Christian) (Entered: 05/29/2020)
2020-06-0523REPLY by Internal Revenue Service re 18 Motion for Miscellaneous Relief. (Attachments: # 1 Amended Appendix of Unpublished Motions and Orders)(Miller, Emily) (Entered: 06/05/2020)
2020-06-2624ORDER ON DEFENDANT'S MOTION FOR IN CAMERA REVIEW signed by District Judge Anthony W. Ishii on 6/25/2020. IT IS HEREBY ORDERED Defendant's motion to submit documents for in camera inspection (Doc. No. 18 ) is GRANTED. Within twenty-one (21) days of service of this order, the IRS shall submit the unredacted copies of the documents identified in its motion for in camera inspection. Once the Court has reviewed the documents in camera, it will issue additional orders as discussed above. (Gonzales, V) (Entered: 06/26/2020)
2020-07-1325NOTICE of In Camera Submission by Internal Revenue Service re 24 Order on Motion for Miscellaneous Relief,,. (Miller, Emily) (Entered: 07/13/2020)
2020-07-2426ORDER for Supplemental Information and Re-Noticing Motion for Summary Judgment signed by District Judge Anthony W. Ishii on 7/24/2020. 21-day deadline . (Jessen, A) (Entered: 07/24/2020)
2020-08-1027MOTION for 28-DAY EXTENSION OF TIME to Comply with the Court's Order re 26 Order, Set/Reset Deadlines and Hearings by Internal Revenue Service. Motion Hearing set for 8/17/2020 at 01:30 PM in Courtroom 2 (AWI) before District Judge Anthony W. Ishii. (Attachments: # 1 Proposed Order)(Miller, Emily) (Entered: 08/10/2020)
2020-08-1028ORDER GRANTING 27 Motion for Extension signed by District Judge Anthony W. Ishii on 8/10/2020. IT IS HEREBY ORDERED the Defendant Internal Revenue Service's Motion is GRANTED and the Service shall comply with the Courts Order dated July 24, 2020, on or before September 11, 2020. (Gonzales, V) (Entered: 08/10/2020)
2020-08-2529MOTION for Clarification (Unopposed) re 26 Order, Set/Reset Deadlines and Hearings by Internal Revenue Service. Motion Hearing set for 8/31/2020 at 01:30 PM in Courtroom 2 (AWI) before District Judge Anthony W. Ishii. (Attachments: # 1 Declaration of Emily K. Miller, # 2 Proposed Order)(Miller, Emily) (Entered: 08/25/2020)
2020-08-2630MINUTE ORDER: (TEXT ENTRY ONLY) The Court has deemed the MOTION FOR CLARIFICATION, Doc. No. 29 , noticed for hearing on 8/31/2020, before District Judge Anthony W. Ishii, suitable for decision WITHOUT oral argument pursuant to Local Rule 230(g). As such, the hearing on same is VACATED and the matter will be taken under submission as of that date. Minute order signed by District Judge Anthony W. Ishii on 8/26/2020. (Gonzales, V) (Entered: 08/26/2020)
2020-08-3131ORDER REGARDING REQUEST FOR CLARIFICATION signed by District Judge Anthony W. Ishii on 08/31/2020. IT IS HEREBY ORDERED Defendant's unopposed motion for clarification (Doc. No. 29 ) is GRANTED. (Gonzales, V) (Entered: 08/31/2020)
2020-09-2132MOTION for 30-DAY EXTENSION OF TIME to Comply with the Court's Order re 31 Order, Order on Motion for Miscellaneous Relief by Internal Revenue Service. Motion Hearing set for 9/28/2020 at 01:30 PM in Courtroom 2 (AWI) before District Judge Anthony W. Ishii. (Attachments: # 1 Proposed Order)(Miller, Emily) (Entered: 09/21/2020)
2020-09-2133MOTION for 30-DAY EXTENSION OF TIME to File Plaintiff's Brief Explaining Position on the Effect of the Release of the Redacted Form 709 re 31 Order, Order on Motion for Miscellaneous Relief by Billie Mertes. Motion Hearing set for 9/28/2020 at 01:30 PM in Courtroom 2 (AWI) before District Judge Anthony W. Ishii. (Attachments: # 1 Proposed Order)(Speck, Christian) (Entered: 09/21/2020)
2020-09-2234ORDER ON REQUESTS FOR ADDITIONAL TIME AND ORDER VACATING SEPTEMBER 28, 2020 HEARING DATE signed by District Judge Anthony W. Ishii on 9/22/2020. IT IS HEREBY ORDERED the parties' respective motions for additional time (Doc. Nos. 32 , 33 ) are GRANTED. The parties shall file additional briefing regarding the production of the disputed document at issue, including whether this case (or any portion of it) is now moot on or by October 21, 2020. The September 28, 2020 hearing on the parties' motions for additional time is VACATED. (Gonzales, V) (Entered: 09/22/2020)
2020-10-2135BRIEF With Respect to Issues Remaining Unresolved filed by Billie Mertes. (Speck, Christian) (Entered: 10/21/2020)
2020-10-2136BRIEF Regarding Mootness filed by Internal Revenue Service. (Attachments: # 1 Exhibit A - Plaintiff's 2019 FOIA Request, # 2 Exhibit B - Plaintiff's Previous 2017 FOIA Request, # 3 Exhibit C - Plaintiff's Correspondence with the Service)(Miller, Emily) (Entered: 10/21/2020)
2021-01-2537ORDER REGARDING MOOTNESS FOLLOWING DISCLOSURE OF DOCUMENT signed by District Judge Anthony W. Ishii on 1/25/2021. IT IS HEREBY ORDERED this case is not mooted by the production of the Form 709 without the attached Form 706. This case remains active and pending. Within fourteen (14) days of service of this order, the IRS shall submit a supplement, consistent with the July 24, 2020 Order (Doc. No. 26) and the Order of Clarification (Doc. No. 31), to the re-noticed summary judgment motion. Within fourteen (14) days of service of the IRSs supplement, Plaintiff may file an opposition to the re-noticed summary judgment motion. Within seven (7) days of service of Plaintiff's opposition, the IRS shall file a reply. If, after receiving the parties' submissions, the Court determines that a hearing on the re-noticed summary judgment would be helpful, the Court will set a hearing date at that time. (Gonzales, V) (Entered: 01/25/2021)
2021-02-0838MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT by Internal Revenue Service. Motion Hearing set for 3/29/2021 at 01:30 PM in Courtroom 2 (AWI) before District Judge Anthony W. Ishii. (Attachments: # 1 Statement of Undisputed Facts, # 2 Memorandum, # 3 Declaration of Jill Bonar, # 4 Exhibit A, # 5 Declaration of Amy Mielke, # 6 Declaration of Emily K. Miller, # 7 Proposed Order)(Miller, Emily) (Entered: 02/08/2021)
2021-02-1839STIPULATION and PROPOSED ORDER for Partial Dismissal by Internal Revenue Service. (Miller, Emily) (Entered: 02/18/2021)
2021-02-1840JOINT STIPULATION OF PARTIAL DISMISSAL AND ORDER signed by District Judge Anthony W. Ishii on 2/18/2021.(Gonzales, V) (Entered: 02/18/2021)
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