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Vazquez-Gonzalez v. U.S., No. 15-2093, 2016 WL 424993 (D.P.R. Feb. 3, 2015) (Gelpi, J.)


Vazquez-Gonzalez v. U.S., No. 15-2093, 2016 WL 424993 (D.P.R. Feb. 3, 2016) (Gelpi, J.)

Re: Request for plaintiff's tax records

Disposition: Denying plaintiff's motion for attorney fees

  • Attorney Fees, Eligibility:  The court finds that "[p]laintiff is not eligible for fees and costs under the statute because his lawsuit did not cause the IRS to release the documents."  "Rather, the IRS substantially completed processing Plaintiff’s request before he filed this claim."  Additionally, the court finds that even "[t]hough the IRS released the requested documents seven days after it became aware of the suit, and twenty-five additional pages of documents approximately four months after Plaintiff filed the suit, all substantive processing, including the search, review and redactions, were largely completed prior to filing."
  • Attorney Fees, Entitlement:  "Even if the Court had found a causal connection between Plaintiff’s lawsuit and the IRS release of documents, [the court finds that] Plaintiff is not entitled to an award."  The court explains that it "discerns no public interest derived from Plaintiff’s action against the IRS because Plaintiff’s action was purely personal."  "Plaintiff’s core interest in seeking his tax records was to support his continuing efforts to resolve his tax liability to the IRS."  "Any possible commercial benefit from the lawsuit is limited to Plaintiff’s own finances and those of his medical practice."  "Additionally, because Plaintiff did not dispute the adequacy of the IRS' search or the quantity of documents released, whether the government’s withholding of the records had a reasonable basis in law is not relevant."
Court Decision Topic(s)
Attorney Fees
District Court opinions
Updated March 4, 2016