Valuation Evidence was Untimely Filed in Violation of the Tax Tribunal’s Prehearing Order
In Adelman v. Township of West Bloomfield, Michigan Court of Appeals, No. 312435, December 17, 2013, the Michigan Tax Tribunal did not abuse its discretion in precluding the admission of a taxpayer’s valuation evidence in a case originating from the taxpayer’s appeal to the tribunal challenging a township’s property tax assessments of his real property because the valuation evidence was untimely filed in violation of the tribunal’s prehearing order. The taxpayer’s failure to comply with the Tax Tribunal’s prehearing order was in the nature of a discovery violation. A Michigan court rule governed discovery procedures and allowed the imposition of sanctions for a party’s failure to comply with a discovery order, including precluding a party from introducing expert testimony or evidence at trial.
The taxpayer’s failure to timely file his valuation disclosure was not accidental. The Tax Tribunal issued its prehearing order on July 21, 2011, requiring the parties to file and exchange their valuation disclosures by April 2, 2012. Yet the taxpayer waited until March 5, 2012, which was more than seven months after the issuance of the order to retain an appraiser and less than one month before the April 2, 2012, filing date ordered by the Tax Tribunal, despite the fact that his appeal involved numerous tax years and an extensive multi-million dollar property.
In addition to the taxpayer’s failure to comply with the filing date of the valuation disclosure at issue, the taxpayer failed to timely comply with the township’s discovery request for documents. The record also indicated that the taxpayer did not comply with the Tax Tribunal’s prehearing order by failing to file his prehearing statement by April 2, 2012, as required. Moreover, the taxpayer did not attempt to file his valuation disclosure until June 21, 2012, which was after the discovery period closed and within only one month of the scheduled hearing, thereby precluding the township from conducting discovery regarding the valuation before the hearing.