ILNews

Judge leaves attorneys on tax refund appeal

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Indiana Tax Court Judge Martha Wentworth has denied the State Department of Revenue’s attempt to disqualify the two attorneys representing a company in a refund dispute.

Attorneys Robert Romack and Dan Dunbar are president and vice president, respectively, of ROAR Consulting. Utilimaster hired ROAR Consulting to calculate the amount of natural gas it needed for use in its production process. The data was used to file for a refund of Indiana gross retail (sales) and use tax remitted on purchase of natural gas.

The Indiana Department of State Revenue granted a refund, but in a reduced amount. Utilimaster then filed an appeal with the Tax Court with Romack and Dunbar entering appearances as the company’s counsel of record. After the discovery deadline had passed, the Department of Revenue sought to reopen discovery, claiming it just learned that Romack and Dunbar admitted that ROAR had conducted the utility study. The department also filed for a motion to disqualify the two attorneys pursuant to Indiana Professional Conduct Rule 3.7 on the basis that they would be necessary witnesses at trial.

The study by ROAR does nothing more than provide the total square footage of Utilimaster’s facility and the portion of that square footage used in the manufacturing process, wrote Wentworth in Utilimaster Corporation v. Indiana Dept. of State Revenue, No. 71T10-1008-TA-43. This information is easily ascertainable, and employees of Utilimaster could testify about the company’s manufacturing processing and use of space.

In addition, the department could have discovered that ROAR was involved in the project before the discovery period ended, because when Utilimaster filed for its refund, it noted that it was with assistance from ROAR. The refund claim was also signed by Romack as ROAR’s president.

“The Department has invoked Professional Conduct Rule 3.7 in an attempt to conceal its failure to timely pursue discovery as well as to remove Utilimaster’s attorneys from the case, calling their professionalism into question. The Court will not countenance the Rule’s abuse as a procedural weapon by invading Utilimaster’s right to counsel of its choice,” she wrote.

 

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  1. Thank you, John Smith, for pointing out a needed correction. The article has been revised.

  2. The "National institute for Justice" is an agency for the Dept of Justice. That is not the law firm you are talking about in this article. The "institute for justice" is a public interest law firm. http://ij.org/ thanks for interesting article however

  3. I would like to try to find a lawyer as soon possible I've had my money stolen off of my bank card driver pressed charges and I try to get the information they need it and a Social Security board is just give me a hold up a run around for no reason and now it think it might be too late cuz its been over a year I believe and I can't get the right information they need because they keep giving me the runaroundwhat should I do about that

  4. It is wonderful that Indiana DOC is making some truly admirable and positive changes. People with serious mental illness, intellectual disability or developmental disability will benefit from these changes. It will be much better if people can get some help and resources that promote their health and growth than if they suffer alone. If people experience positive growth or healing of their health issues, they may be less likely to do the things that caused them to come to prison in the first place. This will be of benefit for everyone. I am also so happy that Indiana DOC added correctional personnel and mental health staffing. These are tough issues to work with. There should be adequate staffing in prisons so correctional officers and other staff are able to do the kind of work they really want to do-helping people grow and change-rather than just trying to manage chaos. Correctional officers and other staff deserve this. It would be great to see increased mental health services and services for people with intellectual or developmental disabilities in the community so that fewer people will have to receive help and support in prisons. Community services would like be less expensive, inherently less demeaning and just a whole lot better for everyone.

  5. Can I get this form on line,if not where can I obtain one. I am eligible.

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