To The Daily Sun,
Civil litigation is at a crossroad for the State of New Hampshire.
As a result of an election ballot counting error by Laconia officials, a petition, ProSe, was filed with the court in order to ensure that every vote cast shall be counted. (See Belknap County Superior Court Docket No. 211-2013-CV-00308)
The plaintiff prevailed and a recount was conducted, correcting the errors. The court order of November 19, 2013 stated, "The plaintiff's request for an award of costs is granted. The plaintiff, Pro Se, out-of-pocket expenses amounted to $280.76."
However, the City of Laconia would only reimburse the prevailing party the $280.76 conditional on completion of an IRS W-9 form, a form that is use to complete IRS 1099 form, used for income in excess of $600.
On January, 21, 2014, as a result of a rehearing, a new updated order was issued amending the order of November 19, 2013, "subject to the condition of the submission of a completed W-9 form to the defendant. If the plaintiff does not wish to submit the form, he can forego the award of costs."
This precedent, if upheld by the Supreme Court, will mandate that every award of cost will be conditional on the submission of a W-9 (Social Security number). The attorney and the client will have to submit SS# to separate income for services rendered (billable expense) from non-income (reimbursement) for expenses paid by after tax dollars.
How much of Laconia's property tax dollars will the City Council spend to keep the $280.76?
Thomas A. Tardif