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Case TitleELECTRONIC PRIVACY INFORMATION CENTER v. INTERNAL REVENUE SERVICE
DistrictDistrict of Columbia
CityWashington, DC
Case Number1:2018cv00902
Date Filed2018-04-17
Date ClosedOpen
JudgeJudge Timothy J. Kelly
PlaintiffELECTRONIC PRIVACY INFORMATION CENTER
Case DescriptionThe Electronic Privacy Information Center submitted a FOIA request to the IRS for records concerning accepted offers-in-compromise relating to any past or present tax liability for President Trump. EPIC noted that offers-in-compromise fell within an exception to the rule protecting tax return information. EPIC also requested expedited processing and news media fee status. The agency acknowledged receipt of the request and granted EPIC's request for expedited processing and a fee waiver. The agency told EPIC it would need to take an extension of time to respond. EPIC did not agree to the extension and finally filed suit.
Complaint issues: Failure to respond within statutory time limit, Adequacy - Search, Litigation - Attorney's fees

DefendantINTERNAL REVENUE SERVICE
Documents
Docket
Complaint
Complaint attachment 1
Complaint attachment 2
Complaint attachment 3
Complaint attachment 4
Complaint attachment 5
Opinion/Order [31]
Opinion/Order [32]
FOIA Project Annotation: Judge Timothy Kelly has ruled that the IRS has still not shown that EPIC does not have a right to receive portions of former President Donald Trump's tax returns. After the D.C. Circuit ruled in favor of EPIC on the issue of whether the IRS could reject EPIC's request for access to Trump's tax returns solely because it did not have Trump's permission to do so, EPIC continued to argue that one of 13 exceptions to non-disclosure under § 6103 " return information necessary to permit inspection of offers-in-compromise, which is "an agreement between the taxpayer and the IRS to settle a federal tax debt for less than the full amount owed," might be applicable. The IRS argued that § 6103 still prohibited it from disclosing the information. Kelly disagreed, noting that "there is no basis in the statute's text or structure to import these requirements into § 6103(k)(1), which, after all, permits disclosure to 'members of the general public.' And the Court notes that neither the regulation that allows members of the public to inspect information relating to an offer-in-compromise nor the form the public must use to request access to those records mentions a consent or qualifying material interest requirement." The IRS argued that § 6103(k)(1) did not provide a disclosure obligation. Again, Kelly disagreed, pointing out that "Section 6103(k)(1) states that return information 'shall be disclosed to the extent necessary to permit inspection of any accepted offer-in-compromise.' That Congress used the word 'shall' rather than 'may' like in other provisions under § 6103(k) is telling. The Court cannot read this language as anything but a disclosure obligation." The IRS contended that since the agency had established rules providing for non-FOIA inspection, nothing more was required. Kelly, however, noted that "at bottom, the Court can see no reason why § 6103(k)(1), or the non FOIA in-person inspection regime established by the Secretary, operate to extinguish EPIC's right to make an otherwise valid FOIA request for records covered by the exception." The IRS also claimed that EPIC's suit was barred by res judicata since EPIC had litigated the issue of access to Trump's tax returns in its case before the D.C. Circuit. Kelly rejected that claim as well, pointing out that "EPIC I involved a FOIA request seeking the former President's 'tax returns for tax years 2010 forward, and any other indications of financial relations with the Russian government or Russian business.' This case arises from a different FOIA request, involving a different FOIA provision, seeking return information relating to any accepted offers-in-compromise by the former President and his associated businesses. The IRS, which bears the burden of establishing res judicata, has not shown that the return information EPIC now seeks was at issue in EPIC I."
Issues: Litigation - Jurisdiction - Failure to State a Claim
User-contributed Documents
 
Docket Events (Hide)
Date FiledDoc #Docket Text

2018-04-171COMPLAINT against INTERNAL REVENUE SERVICE ( Filing fee $ 400 receipt number 0090-5427981) filed by ELECTRONIC PRIVACY INFORMATION CENTER. (Attachments: # 1 Civil Cover Sheet, # 2 Summons Internal Revenue Service, # 3 Summons U.S. Attorney, District of Columbia, # 4 Summons U.S. Attorney General, # 5 Exhibit Nos. 1-7)(Rotenberg, Marc) (Entered: 04/17/2018)
2018-04-172Corporate Disclosure Statement by ELECTRONIC PRIVACY INFORMATION CENTER. (Rotenberg, Marc) (Entered: 04/17/2018)
2018-04-17Case Assigned to Judge Timothy J. Kelly. (zmd) (Entered: 04/20/2018)
2018-04-20SUMMONS Not Issued as to INTERNAL REVENUE SERVICE, U.S. Attorney, U.S. Attorney General. (zmd) (Entered: 04/20/2018)
2018-04-203REQUEST FOR SUMMONS TO ISSUE re 1 Complaint, filed by ELECTRONIC PRIVACY INFORMATION CENTER. Related document: 1 Complaint, filed by ELECTRONIC PRIVACY INFORMATION CENTER. (Attachments: # 1 Summons U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia, # 2 Summons Attorney General of the United States)(Rotenberg, Marc) (Entered: 04/20/2018)
2018-04-234SUMMONS (3) Issued Electronically as to INTERNAL REVENUE SERVICE, U.S. Attorney and U.S. Attorney General (jf) (Entered: 04/23/2018)
2018-05-085RETURN OF SERVICE/AFFIDAVIT of Summons and Complaint Executed as to the United States Attorney. Date of Service Upon United States Attorney on 4/24/2018. ( Answer due for ALL FEDERAL DEFENDANTS by 5/24/2018.), RETURN OF SERVICE/AFFIDAVIT of Summons and Complaint Executed on United States Attorney General. Date of Service Upon United States Attorney General 4/30/18., RETURN OF SERVICE/AFFIDAVIT of Summons and Complaint Executed. INTERNAL REVENUE SERVICE served on 4/30/2018 (Attachments: # 1 Certificate of Service as to Attorney General, # 2 Certificate of Service as to Internal Revenue Service)(Butler, Alan) (Entered: 05/08/2018)
2018-05-186MOTION for Extension of Time to File Answer re 1 Complaint, or other Responsive Pleading by INTERNAL REVENUE SERVICE (Attachments: # 1 Text of Proposed Order)(McMonagle, Ryan) (Entered: 05/18/2018)
2018-05-18MINUTE ORDER: Plaintiff shall file its opposition, if any, to Defendant's 6 Motion for Extension by May 22, 2018. Signed by Judge Timothy J. Kelly on 5/18/2018. (lctjk3) (Entered: 05/18/2018)
2018-05-187Memorandum in opposition to re 6 MOTION for Extension of Time to File Answer re 1 Complaint, or other Responsive Pleading filed by ELECTRONIC PRIVACY INFORMATION CENTER. (Attachments: # 1 Text of Proposed Order)(Rotenberg, Marc) (Entered: 05/18/2018)
2018-05-218NOTICE of Appearance by Megan Eileen Hoffman-Logsdon on behalf of INTERNAL REVENUE SERVICE (Hoffman-Logsdon, Megan) (Entered: 05/21/2018)
2018-05-21MINUTE ORDER granting in part Defendant's 6 Motion to Enlarge Time to Answer. It is hereby ORDERED, for good cause shown, that Defendant shall file its response to Plaintiff's complaint by June 15, 2018. Signed by Judge Timothy J. Kelly on 5/21/2018. (lctjk3) (Entered: 05/21/2018)
2018-06-159WITHDRAWN PURSUANT TO DOCKET ENTRY NO. 18 . . . . . MOTION to Dismiss by INTERNAL REVENUE SERVICE (Attachments: # 1 Memorandum in Support, # 2 Text of Proposed Order)(McMonagle, Ryan) Modified on 2/13/2019 (ztd). (Entered: 06/15/2018)
2018-06-2910Memorandum in opposition to re 9 MOTION to Dismiss filed by ELECTRONIC PRIVACY INFORMATION CENTER. (Attachments: # 1 Text of Proposed Order)(Rotenberg, Marc) (Entered: 06/29/2018)
2018-07-0311Unopposed MOTION for Extension of Time to File Response/Reply as to 9 MOTION to Dismiss by INTERNAL REVENUE SERVICE (Attachments: # 1 Text of Proposed Order)(McMonagle, Ryan) (Entered: 07/03/2018)
2018-07-03MINUTE ORDER granting Defendant's 11 Motion to Extend Time. It is hereby ORDERED that Defendant shall file its reply in support of its 9 Motion to Dismiss by July 10, 2018. Signed by Judge Timothy J. Kelly on 7/3/2018. (lctjk3) (Entered: 07/03/2018)
2018-07-1012REPLY to opposition to motion re 9 MOTION to Dismiss filed by INTERNAL REVENUE SERVICE. (McMonagle, Ryan) (Entered: 07/10/2018)
2018-07-1213MOTION for Leave to File by ELECTRONIC PRIVACY INFORMATION CENTER (Attachments: # 1 Exhibit Proposed Surreply, # 2 Text of Proposed Order)(Rotenberg, Marc) (Entered: 07/12/2018)
2018-07-1214Memorandum in opposition to re 13 MOTION for Leave to File filed by INTERNAL REVENUE SERVICE. (Attachments: # 1 Text of Proposed Order)(McMonagle, Ryan) (Entered: 07/12/2018)
2018-12-1915NOTICE of Appearance by John L. Davisson on behalf of ELECTRONIC PRIVACY INFORMATION CENTER (Davisson, John) (Entered: 12/19/2018)
2018-12-1916NOTICE OF SUPPLEMENTAL AUTHORITY by ELECTRONIC PRIVACY INFORMATION CENTER (Attachments: # 1 Exhibit)(Davisson, John) (Entered: 12/19/2018)
2018-12-21MINUTE ORDER: It is hereby ORDERED that Defendant shall file a submission in response to Plaintiff's 16 Notice of Supplemental Authority setting forth Defendant's position on the impact of the D.C. Circuit's decision in Electronic Privacy Information Center v. Internal Revenue Service , 17-5225 (Dec. 18, 2018), on the instant case by January 10, 2019. Signed by Judge Timothy J. Kelly on 12/21/2018. (lctjk3) (Entered: 12/21/2018)
2018-12-2617MOTION to Stay by INTERNAL REVENUE SERVICE (Hoffman-Logsdon, Megan) (Entered: 12/26/2018)
2018-12-28MINUTE ORDER: It is hereby ORDERED that Defendant shall file its submission in response to Plaintiff's 16 Notice of Supplemental Authority by February 11, 2019. Signed by Judge Timothy J. Kelly on 12/28/2018. (lctjk3) (Entered: 12/28/2018)
2019-01-28MINUTE ORDER denying Defendant's 17 Motion to Stay. Given the restoration of funding to the Department of Justice, it is hereby ORDERED that Defendant's motion to stay the case is DENIED AS MOOT. Signed by Judge Timothy J. Kelly on 1/28/2019. (lctjk3) (Entered: 01/28/2019)
2019-02-1118NOTICE OF WITHDRAWAL OF MOTION by INTERNAL REVENUE SERVICE re 9 MOTION to Dismiss , Order, Set Deadlines, Order,, Set Deadlines, and Notice of Intent to Refile Within Twenty-One Days (Hoffman-Logsdon, Megan) (Entered: 02/11/2019)
2019-02-11MINUTE ORDER: In light of Defendant's 18 Notice of Withdrawal of its 9 Motion to Dismiss, it is hereby ORDERED that Plaintiff's 13 Motion for Leave to File a Surreply in Opposition to Defendant's Motion to Dismiss is DENIED AS MOOT. Signed by Judge Timothy J. Kelly on 2/11/2019. (lctjk3) (Entered: 02/11/2019)
2019-02-1319STATUS REPORT AND MOTION TO ADOPT A SCHEDULE FOR FURTHER PROCEEDINGS by ELECTRONIC PRIVACY INFORMATION CENTER. (Attachments: # 1 Text of Proposed Order)(Davisson, John) (Entered: 02/13/2019)
2019-02-1320MOTION for Scheduling Order by ELECTRONIC PRIVACY INFORMATION CENTER. (See Docket Entry 19 to view document). (znmw) Modified on 4/1/2019 to terminate motion (kh). (Entered: 02/15/2019)
2019-02-14MINUTE ORDER: In light of the representations in Defendant's 18 Notice of Withdrawal, it is hereby ORDERED that Defendant shall file any revised motion to dismiss Plaintiff's 1 Complaint by March 4, 2019. Signed by Judge Timothy J. Kelly on 2/14/2019. (lctjk3) (Entered: 02/14/2019)
2019-03-0421MOTION to Dismiss by INTERNAL REVENUE SERVICE (Attachments: # 1 Memorandum in Support, # 2 Text of Proposed Order)(Hoffman-Logsdon, Megan) (Entered: 03/04/2019)
2019-03-1822Memorandum in opposition to re 21 MOTION to Dismiss filed by ELECTRONIC PRIVACY INFORMATION CENTER. (Attachments: # 1 Text of Proposed Order)(Davisson, John) (Entered: 03/18/2019)
2019-03-2023MOTION for Extension of Time to File Response/Reply as to 21 MOTION to Dismiss by INTERNAL REVENUE SERVICE (Attachments: # 1 Text of Proposed Order)(McMonagle, Ryan) (Entered: 03/20/2019)
2019-03-2024Memorandum in opposition to re 23 MOTION for Extension of Time to File Response/Reply as to 21 MOTION to Dismiss filed by ELECTRONIC PRIVACY INFORMATION CENTER. (Attachments: # 1 Text of Proposed Order)(Davisson, John) (Entered: 03/20/2019)
2019-03-21MINUTE ORDER granting Defendant's 23 Motion for Extension of Time. It is hereby ORDERED that Defendant's 23 Motion for Extension of Time is GRANTED. It is further ORDERED that Defendant shall file its reply in support of its 21 Motion to Dismiss by April 8, 2019. Signed by Judge Timothy J. Kelly on 3/21/2019. (lctjk3) (Entered: 03/21/2019)
2019-04-0825REPLY to opposition to motion re 21 MOTION to Dismiss filed by INTERNAL REVENUE SERVICE. (McMonagle, Ryan) (Entered: 04/08/2019)
2019-09-0326NOTICE of Change of Address by John L. Davisson (Davisson, John) (Entered: 09/03/2019)
2020-04-2927NOTICE OF WITHDRAWAL OF APPEARANCE as to ELECTRONIC PRIVACY INFORMATION CENTER. Attorney Marc Rotenberg terminated. (Davisson, John) (Entered: 04/29/2020)
2020-07-1028NOTICE OF WITHDRAWAL OF APPEARANCE as to INTERNAL REVENUE SERVICE. Attorney Megan Eileen Hoffman-Logsdon terminated. (Hoffman-Logsdon, Megan) (Entered: 07/10/2020)
2021-04-2829MOTION for Hearing re 21 MOTION to Dismiss by ELECTRONIC PRIVACY INFORMATION CENTER. (Attachments: # 1 Text of Proposed Order)(Davisson, John) (Entered: 04/28/2021)
2021-05-1230RESPONSE re 29 MOTION for Hearing re 21 MOTION to Dismiss filed by INTERNAL REVENUE SERVICE. (McMonagle, Ryan) (Entered: 05/12/2021)
2021-12-0331ORDER granting in part and denying in part Defendant's 21 Motion to Dismiss. See Order for details. Signed by Judge Timothy J. Kelly on 12/3/2021. (lctjk3) (Entered: 12/03/2021)
2021-12-0332MEMORANDUM OPINION in support of 31 ORDER granting in part and denying in part Defendant's 21 Motion to Dismiss. Signed by Judge Timothy J. Kelly on 12/3/2021. (lctjk3) Modified to correct document type on 12/6/2021 (zkh). (Entered: 12/03/2021)
2021-12-03MINUTE ORDER: The Court has resolved Defendant's 21 Motion to Dismiss. Therefore, it is hereby ORDERED that Plaintiff's 29 Motion for Hearing is DENIED AS MOOT. Signed by Judge Timothy J. Kelly on 12/3/2021. (lctjk3) (Entered: 12/03/2021)
2022-01-0733Joint STATUS REPORT by ELECTRONIC PRIVACY INFORMATION CENTER. (Davisson, John) (Entered: 01/07/2022)
2022-01-11MINUTE ORDER: Upon consideration of the parties' 33 Joint Status Report, it is hereby ORDERED that the parties shall submit a further joint status report by February 7, 2022, detailing how the parties wish to proceed in this case. Signed by Judge Timothy J. Kelly on 1/11/2022. (lctjk3) (Entered: 01/11/2022)
2022-02-0734Joint STATUS REPORT by ELECTRONIC PRIVACY INFORMATION CENTER. (Davisson, John) (Entered: 02/07/2022)
2022-02-09MINUTE ORDER: Upon consideration of the parties' 34 Joint Status Report, it is hereby ORDERED that the parties shall submit a further joint status report by March 9, 2022, detailing how the parties wish to proceed in this case. Signed by Judge Timothy J. Kelly on 2/9/2022. (lctjk3) (Entered: 02/09/2022)
2022-03-0935Joint STATUS REPORT by ELECTRONIC PRIVACY INFORMATION CENTER. (Davisson, John) (Entered: 03/09/2022)
2022-03-10MINUTE ORDER: Upon consideration of the parties' 35 Joint Status Report, it is hereby ORDERED that the parties shall submit a further joint status report by April 8, 2022, unless a stipulation of dismissal is filed sooner. Signed by Judge Timothy J. Kelly on 3/10/2022. (lctjk3) (Entered: 03/10/2022)
2022-04-0836Joint STATUS REPORT by ELECTRONIC PRIVACY INFORMATION CENTER. (Davisson, John) (Entered: 04/08/2022)
2022-04-12MINUTE ORDER: Upon consideration of the parties' 36 Joint Status Report, it is hereby ORDERED that the parties shall submit a further joint status report, including, if necessary, a proposed briefing schedule, by May 10, 2022, unless a stipulation of dismissal is filed sooner. Signed by Judge Timothy J. Kelly on 4/12/2022. (lctjk3) (Entered: 04/12/2022)
2022-05-1037Joint STATUS REPORT by ELECTRONIC PRIVACY INFORMATION CENTER. (Davisson, John) (Entered: 05/10/2022)
2022-05-13MINUTE ORDER: In light of the parties' representations in their 37 Joint Status Report and that they do not reflect an agreement to proceed to mediation, it is hereby ORDERED that Plaintiff shall file a motion for attorney's fees by June 6, 2022; Defendant shall file its opposition by June 27, 2022; and Plaintiff shall file any reply by July 11, 2022. Signed by Judge Timothy J. Kelly on 5/13/2022. (lctjk3) Modified to correct law clerk initials on 5/13/2022 (zkh). (Entered: 05/13/2022)
2022-06-0638MOTION for Attorney Fees by ELECTRONIC PRIVACY INFORMATION CENTER. (Attachments: # 1 Memorandum in Support, # 2 Exhibit A, # 3 Exhibit B, # 4 Exhibit C, # 5 Exhibit D, # 6 Exhibit E, # 7 Exhibit F, # 8 Exhibit G, # 9 Exhibit H, # 10 Exhibit I, # 11 Exhibit J, # 12 Exhibit K, # 13 Text of Proposed Order)(Davisson, John) (Entered: 06/06/2022)
2022-06-0739ERRATA by ELECTRONIC PRIVACY INFORMATION CENTER re 38 MOTION for Attorney Fees filed by ELECTRONIC PRIVACY INFORMATION CENTER. (Attachments: # 1 Exhibit L)(Davisson, John) (Entered: 06/07/2022)
2022-06-2740Memorandum in opposition to re 38 MOTION for Attorney Fees filed by INTERNAL REVENUE SERVICE. (McMonagle, Ryan) (Entered: 06/27/2022)
2022-07-1141REPLY to opposition to motion re 38 MOTION for Attorney Fees filed by ELECTRONIC PRIVACY INFORMATION CENTER. (Davisson, John) (Entered: 07/11/2022)
2022-11-11MINUTE ORDER: It is hereby ORDERED that Plaintiff's 38 Motion for Attorney's Fees and Costs shall be referred to a Magistrate Judge, to be assigned at random by the Clerk's Office, for a report and recommendation under Local Rule 72.3(a)(7). Signed by Judge Timothy J. Kelly on 11/11/2022. (lctjk3) (Entered: 11/11/2022)
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