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Importance of Tax Returns in Litigation

By: Thomas W. Hartmann
The Hartmann Law Firm LLC; 908-731-6976
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In Cisco v. A.C. Moore Arts & Crafts, Inc,, 25-2-7409, App. Div. (July 2015) , plaintiff Desiree Cisco brought a complaint against defendants claiming she was subjected to a hostile environment, retaliation and the intentional infliction of emotional distress.

The court dismissed plaintiff's complaint with prejudice finding that plaintiff repeatedly failed to produce documents reflecting her income, including her income tax returns.

Plaintiff has claimed hundreds of thousands of dollars in lost wages. The court found that her tax records were directly relevant to that claim as well as to her claim for emotional distress. The court further noted that the defendants had the right to fully explore the bases for plaintiff's claims. The court added that the defendant was not limited to the documents in plaintiff's possession, particularly as defendant had specifically requested authorizations to obtain records from past employers and the IRS.

The Appellate Court found that the trial judge had given plaintiff multiple opportunities to provide the discovery so as to avoid dismissal. Because of plaintiff's failure to provide documents listing her income, including her tax returns, the court upheld the dismissal.

This case, again, reflects the importance of tax returns as a valuable source of information and discovery in litigation.

The Hartmann Law Firm LLC can assist in these matters to insure your business and your assets are protected. Beyond this, we can help guide businesses through issues ahead of litigation or aggressively advocate in litigation and business disputes should the need arise.

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