Donald E. Gonzales, Plaintiff-appellant, v. United States of America, Defendant-appellee, 943 F.2d 57 (10th Cir. 1991)

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U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit - 943 F.2d 57 (10th Cir. 1991)

Sept. 6, 1991

Before McKAY, SEYMOUR and EBEL, Circuit Judges.


SEYMOUR, Circuit Judge.

After examining the briefs and appellate record, this panel has determined unanimously that oral argument would not materially assist the determination of this appeal. See Fed. R. App. P. 34(a); 10th Cir.R. 34.1.9. The cause is therefore ordered submitted without oral argument.

Donald Gonzales, a taxpayer, filed a petition to quash a summons served by a special agent of the Internal Revenue Service on the Washita State Bank, a third-party record keeper under I.R.C. § 7609(a) (3) (A) (1988). The district court denied the motion to quash and granted the Government's petition to enforce the summons. Gonzales filed a notice of appeal. Three months later, the Government demanded the records from the Bank and Gonzales sought to stay the judgment pending appeal. Both the district court and this court denied the request for a stay. The Bank has now complied with the summons by producing all of the summoned records within its possession. The Government has filed a motion to dismiss the appeal, contending that it has become moot. We agree.

"Article III of the Constitution limits federal courts to the adjudication of actual, ongoing controversies between litigants." Deakins v. Monaghan, 484 U.S. 193, 199 (1988). A case becomes moot when events occurring during the pendency of an appeal make it impossible for a court to award meaningful relief. See United States v. Trails End Motel, Inc., 657 F.2d 1169, 1170 (10th Cir. 1981). In line with most courts, this circuit has held that when, as here, compliance with an IRS summons occurs while the appeal of the enforcement order is pending, the appeal becomes moot. See United States v. Church of World Peace, 878 F.2d 1281, 1284-85 (10th Cir. 1989); Trails End Motel, 657 F.2d at 1170.

According, the appeal is DISMISSED.


This order and judgment has no precedential value and shall not be cited, or used by any court within the Tenth Circuit, except for purposes of establishing the doctrines of the law of the case, res judicata, or collateral estoppel. 10th Cir.R. 36.3