Niro v. IRS, No. 17-40099, 2019 WL 1101282 (D. Mass. Mar. 8, 2019) (Hillman, J.)

Date: 
Friday, March 8, 2019

Niro v. IRS, No. 17-40099, 2019 WL 1101282 (D. Mass. Mar. 8, 2019) (Hillman, J.)

Re:  Request for records concerning audit of plaintiffs' income tax returns

Disposition:  Granting defendant's motion for summary judgment
 

  • Litigation Considerations, Adequacy of Search:  The court "find[s] that the IRS, in a non-conclusory fashion, has described its records system, the scope of the various searches conducted, and the method by which the searches were conducted."  Additionally, the court holds that "Plaintiffs' unsupported speculation about procedures and protocols once utilized by agents when [one plaintiff] worked for the IRS is insufficient to rebut the detailed declarations submitted by the IRS."  "Because those declarations contain information sufficient to demonstrate that the IRS undertook a good-faith effort to design a search of its records that was reasonably calculated to return all documents responsive to the Plaintiffs' requests, the agency has met its burden of showing that it conducted an adequate search."
     
  • Litigation Considerations, Vaughn Index/Declaration:  The court holds that "Plaintiffs have not contested the exemptions invoked by the IRS."  "Moreover, upon [the court's] own independent review of the IRS's submissions, [the court] find[s] that they are sufficiently detailed, establish that appropriate procedures were followed and set forth with sufficient particularity the factual and legal justification for invoking the exemptions."
     
  • Litigation Considerations, "Reasonably Segregable" Requirements:  The court finds that "[e]very effort was made to provide Plaintiffs with all material in the public domain and with all reasonably segregable non-exempt information in the responsive records."  "The IRS has represented that no reasonably segregable, non-exempt portions have been withheld from Plaintiffs."
Topic: 
Adequacy of Search
Declarations
District Court
Litigation Considerations
Segregability
Vaughn Index
Updated March 20, 2019