CLEVELAND - Consumers cannot pursue class claims, including allegations under California's unfair competition law (UCL), that Anheuser-Busch Cos. LLC knowingly sells watered down beer with reduced alcohol content because the brewer's products meet federal Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) regulations for beer labeling, an Ohio federal judge overseeing a multidistrict litigation held June 2 (In Re: Anheuser-Busch Beer Labeling, Marketing and Sales Practices Litigation, MDL No. 13-2448, N.D. Ohio; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 76005).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Supreme Court on May 27 declined to hear a case in which the former chief financial officer of a bankrupt airline contended that he should not be personally liable for $8.5 million in federal excise taxes that were due when his company filed for bankruptcy (Raymond T. Nakano v. United States of America, No. 13-1278, Chapter 7, U.S. Sup.).
HARRISBURG, Pa. - Surveying more than 100 years of Pennsylvania property law, a unanimous Pennsylvania Superior Court panel ruled May 9 that the heirs of a Centre County, Pa., tract of land have no interest in the subsurface because the purported severance of the subsurface from the surface in 1899 was not reported to the county commissioners or tax assessor as required by an 1806 statute (Herder Spring Hunting Club v, Harry Keller, et al., No. 718 MDA 2013, Pa. Super.; 2014 PA Super 100).
SAN FERNANDO VALLEY, Calif. - A trust for an insolvent insurance company failed to allege that banks breached a fiduciary duty by managing the insurer's tax attributes to benefit the banks at the expense of the trust and the insurer's other stakeholders, a California federal judge held May 8, dismissing a breach of fiduciary duty claim (In re: Superior National Insurance; The Litigation Trust for the Trust Beneficiaries of SNTL Corp. and certain affiliates v. JP Morgan Chase and JP Morgan Chase Bank N.A., Chapter 11, Nos. 00-14099 & 13-01099, C.D. Calif. Bky.; 2014 Bankr. LEXIS 2071).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - A District of Columbia Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on May 8 heard arguments over whether the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA)'s individual mandate tax constitutes a revenue measure and should properly have originated in the U.S. House of Representatives (Matt Sissel v. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, et al., No. 13-5202, D.C. Cir.).
ST. LOUIS - Tax professionals are not owed compensation for the time they spent completing 24 hours of rehire training, the Eighth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled May 2 (Barbara Petroski, et al. v. H&R Block Enterprises, LLC, et al., No. 13-2076, 8th Cir.; 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 8291).
SACRAMENTO, Calif. - California's tax code provides the sole remedy for consumers who believe that a retailer improperly charged tax reimbursements, the California Supreme Court held May 1 in a 4-3 opinion rejecting state unfair competition law (UCL) claims (Kimberly Loeffler, et al. v. Target Corp., No. S173972, Calif. Sup.).
PHILADELPHIA - A panel of the Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on April 24 affirmed a U.S. Tax Court ruling that held that a claim of $1,251,456.99 made by the Internal Revenue Service against a debtor for unpaid tax liabilities was deficient (Dominick Galluzzo v Commissioner of Internal Revenue, No. 13-3555, Chapter 11, 3rd Cir.; 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 7680).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - No legal support exists for a man's claim that the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) exempts independent contractors of grant recipients from self-employment taxes, and the law is "devoid" of any language to that affect, a tax court judge held April 22 (Harris He Wang v. Commissioner of Internal Revenue, No. 4306-13S, U.S. Tax; 2014 Tax Ct. Summary LEXIS 42).
NEW HAVEN, Conn. - A federal judge in Connecticut on April 22 dismissed a class action suit brought by the city of Bridgeport, Conn., on behalf of all municipalities within the state, seeking an order requiring the Federal National Mortgage Association (Fannie Mae), Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corp. (Freddie Mac) and Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) to pay transfer taxes from the sales of real property, after finding that the defendants are exempt from paying transfer tax (City of Bridgeport, et al. v. Federal National Mortgage Association, et al., No. 12-cv-1218, D. Conn.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 55509).
SAN FRANCISCO - A panel of the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on April 21 affirmed a bankruptcy court that held that $55 million in tax refunds belonged to the bankruptcy estate of IndyMac Bancorp Inc. rather than the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. (Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation v. Alfred H. Siegel [In The Matter of: IndyMac Bancorp Inc.], No. 12-56218, Chapter 7, 9th Cir.; 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 7442).
CHICAGO - A woman's letters to her loan servicer complaining that funds from her escrow account were not enough to pay her real estate taxes constituted qualified written requests (QWRs) under the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA), a federal judge in Illinois ruled April 17 in denying Ocwen Loan Servicing LLC's motion to dismiss her lawsuit (Cynthia Gogliotti v. Ocwen Loan Servicing LLC, No. 14 C 1027, N.D. Ill.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 53194).
PHILADELPHIA - Bankrupt casino operator Philadelphia Entertainment and Development Partners LP (PEDP) on April 2 filed a disclosure statement for a Chapter 11 plan of liquidation in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania that would reduce the amount of real estate taxes it owes to the City of Philadelphia by $5,936,921 (In Re: Philadelphia Entertainment and Development Partners LP, No. 14-12482, Chapter 11, E.D. Pa. Bkcy.).
ATLANTA - A panel of the 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on March 26 affirmed a district court's decision and said tax payments made by a debtor were recoverable by the Chapter 7 trustee as a form of fraudulent transfer (Deborah C. Menotte v. USA [In Re: Custom Contractors LLC], No. 12-16489, Chapter 7, 11th Cir.; 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 5501).
CHICAGO - An Illinois federal judge on March 13 partially dismissed a class complaint accusing online travel companies of failing to remit the full amount of taxes owed for hotel room bookings to various Illinois municipalities after determining that the plaintiffs' various tax ordinances are the only available vehicle for the plaintiffs' claims (Village of Bedford Park, et al. v. Expedia, Inc. $(WA$), et al., No. 12-5633, N.D. Ill.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 32504).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The federal government on March 7 responded to a letter filed in the District of Columbia Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals by plaintiffs in a case challenging an Internal Revenue Service regulation imposed under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) that extends eligibility for premium assistance subsidies to people who purchase health insurance through exchanges established by the ACA. The plaintiffs' letter addresses a bulletin issued by the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) discussing the tax credits available for individuals who purchase health care coverage through exchanges (Jacqueline Halbig, et al. v. Kathleen Sebelius, et al., No. 14-5018, D.C. Cir.).
ERIE, Pa. - A Pennsylvania federal judge on March 5 refused to dismiss an insured's breach of contract and bad faith lawsuit, rejecting the insurer's argument that underlying dispute was over business transactions that were not performed in the course of "professional services" as defined in the professional liability errors and omissions insurance policy (Municipal Revenue Service Inc., et al. v. Houston Casualty Co., No. 1:13-cv-151 Erie, W.D. Pa.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 27762).