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Thursday, February 27, 2003


The Estate of Lucille Abbott Sexton, Deceased, Ann Sexton Peterson, Executor, wanted to vacate a stipulated decision after discovering that the attorney who negotiated the settlement also worked as a consultant and potential expert for the IRS on an unrelated matter. On two possible grounds of conflict of interest under the ABA Model Rules of Professional Conduct, Tax Court said one did not apply because the prior attorney was not representing the IRS in an attorney/ client relationship, but that there might have been a conflict of interest under another Rule referring to the attorney�s responsibilities and interests. However, Tax Court denied the motion to vacate because there was no evidence that the prior attorney did not properly represent the estate.

The only thing that confused me was that Tax Court never cited authority to explain why they were discussing the ABA Model Rules as if they were authority. Yeah, I know they are very influential, and are on the multi-state section of I assume every bar exam except Louisiana, but they are not the law. Or are they? This case doesn�t tell me.

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