OCTOBER TERM, 1996
on petition for writ of certiorari to the united states court of appeals for the ninth circuit
No. 95-2082. Decided December 2, 1996
In a proceeding to enforce two Internal Revenue Service (IRS) summonses issued to respondent, petitioners, the United States and an IRS agent, represented that the documents sought were for a civil investigation. The Magistrate found the summonses valid and enforceable for the purpose stated. As the Magistrate recommended, the District Court ordered enforcement of the summonses, but required the IRS to give respondent five days' notice before transferring summoned information from its Examination Division to any other IRS office. Challenging the District Court's authority to impose such a restriction, the IRS appealed. The Ninth Circuit dismissed the appeal as not ripe because the record did not indicate that the Examination Division had attempted to disclose the documents to any other IRS division; therefore the five-day notice requirement had not been triggered.
Held: The District Court issued a final, appealable order. Its decision dispositively granted in part and denied in part the remedy requested. The IRS prevailed to the extent that the District Court enforced the summonses, but did not prevail to the extent that the District Court imposed the five-day notice condition. With that disposition, the District Court completed its adjudication. This Court has expressly held that IRS summons enforcement orders are subject to appellate review. Church of Scientology of Cal. v. United States, 506 U. S. 9, 15. Finality, not ripeness, is the doctrine governing appeals from district court to circuit court. The Ninth Circuit cited, and this Court has found, no authority supporting the Ninth Circuit's cryptic declaration that the conditional enforcement order was not ripe for appeal. The Court expresses no opinion on the merits of the underlying dispute, but notes that the matter implicates an intercircuit conflict.
Certiorari granted; 71 F. 3d 1484, reversed and remanded.
Petitioners, the United States of America and Leslie M. Nishimura, Revenue Agent of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS or Service), commenced a proceeding to enforce twoPage: Index 1 2 3 4 5 Next
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