On January 29, 2018, Plaintiffs, Ampersand Chowchilla Biomass, LLC and Merced Power, LLC moved to compel the United States to produce three categories of documents: (1) the billing records of the Government’s expert witness; (2) communications between the facilities’ prior owner, Ampersand California Biomass Fund I, and the Government relating to the prior owner’s authorization for the IRS to release tax returns; and (3) communications between DOJ and the IRS regarding the release of Akeida Environmental Fund LP and Akeida Environmental Master Fund Ltd.’s tax returns.
The Government opposed the motion, arguing that expert discovery had closed and therefore the request for the expert’s billing information was untimely, and that the billing information was privileged. The Court, however, disagreed, granting Ampersand’s motion regarding the expert’s billing records. The Court explained that the request was timely because Ampersand orally requested the billing information before expert discovery closed. The Court further noted that the Government could redact any privileged information from the invoices.
The Court, however, denied Ampersand’s motion to compel the communications between the Government and California Biomass Fund I, concluding that here the request was untimely because Ampersand did not request this information until after the close of discovery.
Finally, the Court denied Ampersand’s motion to compel the Government to produce the communications between the DOJ and the IRS. Ampersand argued that the communications relating to the release of Akeida’s tax returns could shed light on the credibility of the Government’s witnesses, but did not identify specific witnesses or how the communications would affect the witnesses’ credibility. The Court further stated that Ampersand could raise issues relating to misuse of the tax information in later proceedings if it believed the information was being misused.
Read Judge Williams’s full decision here.