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Sutherland Secures Victory in Long-Fought Tax Case

December 3, 2009

WASHINGTON (December 3, 2009)Sutherland Asbill & Brennan LLP, working with trial counsel, Randall Dick, and NYU law professor, Richard Pildes, secured a victory in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit on behalf of Burton Kanter’s Estate in a tax fraud case that has been fought for more than 20 years in the U.S. Tax Court, three Federal Circuit Courts of Appeals, and the U.S. Supreme Court.

The case, which was originally filed in the U.S. Tax Court in 1986, sought review of, among other things, the Commissioner’s allegation that Mr. Kanter and two other men attempted to defraud the government by not reporting millions of dollars of income as part of a kickback scheme.  

The case was originally heard by a Special Trial Judge (“STJ") in 1994, who, it was subsequently learned, ruled in favor of Mr. Kanter.  However, a reviewing Tax Court Judge reversed the findings of the STJ, without disclosing that he had done so, and refused to release the original STJ’s report when the parties requested it.  After appeals to the Seventh Circuit and the U.S. Supreme Court, which ultimately forced the Tax Court to disclose the STJ’s report, the case was remanded to the Tax Court, which again issued an opinion contrary to the STJ’s findings.

The estate filed a second appeal to the Seventh Circuit, and, on December 1, 2009, the court agreed with Mr. Kanter that “the Tax Court did not show the proper level of deference to the STJ’s factual findings."  The Seventh Circuit reversed the Tax Court’s judgment and remanded the case to the Tax Court with instructions to vacate its decision and enter an order adopting the STJ’s report as the decision of the Tax Court.

Sutherland’s representation of Mr. Kanter, and later his estate, began in 2000.  N. Jerold (Jerry) Cohen and Matthew J. Gries from Sutherland successfully handled the appeal along with their various co-counsel.

To view a copy of the court’s opinion online, click here

Sutherland Asbill & Brennan LLP is a law firm with global reach known for solving challenging business problems and resolving sophisticated legal issues for many of the world’s largest companies. Founded in 1924, the firm handles matters throughout the United States and worldwide. Seven major practice areas—corporate, energy and environmental, financial services, intellectual property, litigation, real estate, and tax—provide the framework for an extensive range of focus areas, allowing Sutherland attorneys to serve a diverse client base that ranges from small and medium-sized start-up businesses to a significant number of Fortune 100 companies.

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Sutherland Asbill & Brennan LLP is an international law firm helping the Fortune 100, industry leaders, sector innovators and business entrepreneurs solve their biggest challenges and reach their business goals. Dedicated to unfaltering excellence in client service, we are known for our business savvy and industry intelligence, providing creative and custom solutions for each of our clients. Industry and business experience makes the difference for our clients.

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