LexisNexis® Legal Newsroom
Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Attorney: Chevron Offers 'No Credible Argument' For Cost Tax In Lago Agrio Case

NEW YORK - The attorney representing a group of Ecuadorian residents who won an $18.5 billion judgment against Chevron Corp. for injuries, only to have it reversed, on Sept. 12 filed a letter with the presiding judge in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, arguing that the company offers "no credible argument" for its contention that the company is entitled to the taxation of costs in the litigation (Chevron Corporation v. Donziger, et al., Case No. 11 Civ. 691, S.D. N.Y.).

Mealey's Antitrust/Unfair Competition - Judge Dismisses RICO Claims, Finds Lenders Did Not Defraud Company

SAN DIEGO - After finding that lenders did not intentionally defraud a company in relation to payments for insurance and taxes that were not made into an escrow account, California federal judge on Aug. 30 dismissed the company's claims for violation of the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) (Crescenzo 1, L.P. v. Deutsche Bank National Trust, et al., No. 3:17-CV-1018, S.D. Calif., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 140186.)

Mealey's Banking & Finance - Judge Dismisses RICO Claims, Finds Lenders Did Not Defraud Company

SAN DIEGO - After finding that lenders did not intentionally defraud a company in relation to payments for insurance and taxes that were not made into an escrow account, California federal judge on Aug. 30 dismissed the company's claims for violation of the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) (Crescenzo 1, L.P. v. Deutsche Bank National Trust, et al., No. 3:17-CV-1018, S.D. Calif., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 140186.)

Mealey's Litigation Procedure - U.S. Government Urges Review Of Email Warrant Denial Despite 11th Circuit Ruling

MONTGOMERY, Ala. - In an Aug. 28 filing in Alabama federal court, the U.S. government states that it "persists in its request" from a July 18 motion to review and vacate a magistrate's order denying warrants for the production of emails related to a tax fraud investigation, arguing that a subsequent 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruling on the search of email accounts has no bearing on the present case (In re Search of Information Associated with 15 Email Addresses Stored at Premises Owned, Maintained, Controlled or Operated by 1&1 Media, Inc., et al., No. 2:17-cm-03152, M.D. Ala.).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - 9th Circuit Panel Affirms Dismissal Of Counterclaims In Tobacco Taxes Suit

SAN FRANCISCO - A panel of the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Aug. 29 upheld a district court decision to dismiss counterclaims against an Indian tribe in a tobacco tax lawsuit after finding that the counterclaims are barred by sovereign immunity (Quinault Indian Nation v. Mary Linda Pearson, No. 15-35263, 9th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 16510).

Mealey's PI/Product Liability - N.J. Tax Court Judge Denies, Grants Summary Judgment Motions In Tobacco Tax Suit

TRENTON, N.J. - In an unpublished opinion, a New Jersey Tax Court judge on Aug. 9 found that a cigar wholesaler is not immune from a state tax on tobacco because it did not keep adequate records showing that it sold tobacco to an out-of-state buyer (Cigar Stop Inc. v. Director of the Division of Taxation, No. 015587-2014, N.J. Tax, 2017 N.J. Tax Unpub. LEXIS 46).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Oklahoma Supreme Court Finds New Tobacco Tax Unconstitutional

OKLAHOMA CITY - The Oklahoma Supreme Court on Aug. 10 found that a tobacco tax labeled as a "smoking cessation fee" is a revenue-raising tax because the money generated from it is being used to balance the state's budget and, therefore, that it should be stricken in its entirety (James P. Naifeh, et al. v. State of Oklahoma, et al., No. 116102, Okla. Sup.).

Mealey's Insurance - Insurer Seeks Default Judgment In Coverage Dispute Over Fraudulent Tax Returns

BLUEFIELD, W.Va. - A businessowners liability insurer on July 28 asked a West Virginia federal court to enter a default judgment against its insured in its declaratory judgment lawsuit challenging coverage for seven lawsuits alleging that the insured's employee filed fraudulent tax returns (Ohio Security Insurance Co. v. K R Enterprises, Inc., et al., No. 15-16264, S.D. W.Va.).

Mealey's Insurance - Health Plan's Claim Over Reinsurance Contributions Under ACA Fails, Judge Says

BALTIMORE - A self-funded, self-administered group health plan failed to allege a claim over which jurisdiction would exist under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act's (ACA) "internal revenue tax" or "any sum" provisions, a Maryland federal judge ruled July 21, dismissing the health plan's lawsuit alleging that it was improperly required to pay reinsurance contributions under the ACA (Electrical Welfare Trust Fund v. United States of America, et al., No. 16-2186, D. Md., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 113687).

Mealey's Litigation Procedure - Government Seeks Review Of Order Denying Warrants For Email Search, Seizure

MONTGOMERY, Ala. - An Alabama federal magistrate judge erred in declining to issue warrants for the production of emails related to a tax fraud investigation, the U.S. government argues in a July 18 motion asking the court to review and vacate that decision, arguing that its warrant applications comported with the requirements of the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution (In re Search of Information Associated with 15 Email Addresses Stored at Premises Owned, Maintained, Controlled or Operated by 1&1 Media, Inc., et al., No. 2:17-cm-03152, M.D. Ala.).

Mealey's Antitrust/Unfair Competition - Judge Dismisses Federal Claims Related To PACE Programs Against Governments

RIVERSIDE, Calif. - After finding that Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) programs are considered tax assessments and are not regulated by the Truth in Lending Act (TILA) and another federal law, a California federal judge on July 17 granted a motion filed by several government entities and a company to dismiss a case against them, but remanded claims for violation of California's unfair competition law (UCL) to state court (In re Hero Loan Litigation, No. 16-02478, No. 16-02491, No. 16-08943, C.D. Calif., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 111771).

Mealey's Litigation Procedure - U.K. Firm Proceeds With PCA Arbitration Against India Tax Department

EDINBURGH, Scotland - A United Kingdom energy company on June 19 gave updates on a dispute with the Indian Income Tax Department, stating that an international arbitration over a tax assessment is progressing and that final hearings in the case will be held next year.

Mealey's IP/Tech - Judge Refuses To Strike Answer To Tax Firm's Infringement, UCL Claims

SAN FRANCISCO - A California federal judge on June 16 partially granted a tax firm's motion to strike parts of an answer to its complaint in which it asserts that various defendants infringed on its trademarks and violated California's unfair competition law (UCL), but refused to strike parts of the answer that assert an affirmative defense such as unclean hands or other equitable defense (Anderson Tax LLC v. Stephane Laffont-Reveilhac, et al., No. 17-cv-01311-EMC, N.D. Calif., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 93298).

Mealey's Antitrust/Unfair Competition - Judge Refuses To Strike Answer To Tax Firm's Infringement, UCL Claims

SAN FRANCISCO - A California federal judge on June 16 partially granted a tax firm's motion to strike parts of an answer to its complaint in which it asserts that various defendants infringed on its trademarks and violated California's unfair competition law (UCL), but refused to strike parts of the answer that assert an affirmative defense such as unclean hands or other equitable defense (Anderson Tax LLC v. Stephane Laffont-Reveilhac, et al., No. 17-cv-01311-EMC, N.D. Calif., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 93298).

Mealey's Litigation Procedure - Judge Orders Reinsurer To Provide Missing Tax Documents To Insurers

ATLANTA - In a case over fraudulent transfers of reinsurance funds, a Georgia federal judge granted in part insurers' motion to compel on June 12, ordering a reinsurer to provide missing tax documents to the insurers (Canal Insurance Co. and Canal Indemnity Co. v. Golden Isles Reinsurance Company Ltd,, et al., No. 15-cv-03331, N.D. Ga.).

Mealey's Insurance - Judge Orders Reinsurer To Provide Missing Tax Documents To Insurers

ATLANTA - In a case over fraudulent transfers of reinsurance funds, a Georgia federal judge granted in part insurers' motion to compel on June 12, ordering a reinsurer to provide missing tax documents to the insurers (Canal Insurance Co. and Canal Indemnity Co. v. Golden Isles Reinsurance Company Ltd., et al., No. 15-cv-03331, N.D. Ga.).

Mealey's Litigation Procedure - Judge Substantially Denies Motion To Dismiss In IPO Stock Drop Suit

NEW YORK - A pension fund has properly pleaded a majority of its federal securities law claims alleging that a company, certain of its officers and directors and the underwriters of its initial public offering (IPO) concealed from investors that the company was expected to see a tax increase that would substantially affect revenue, a federal judge in New York ruled May 23 in granting in part and denying in part the defendants' motion to dismiss (Yi Xiang, et al. v. Inovalon Holdings Inc., et al., No. 16-4923, S.D. N.Y., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 78207).

Mealey's Securities/D&O Liability - Judge Substantially Denies Motion To Dismiss In IPO Stock Drop Suit

NEW YORK - A pension fund has properly pleaded a majority of its federal securities law claims alleging that a company, certain of its officers and directors and the underwriters of its initial public offering (IPO) concealed from investors that the company was expected to see a tax increase that would substantially affect revenue, a federal judge in New York ruled May 23 in granting in part and denying in part the defendants' motion to dismiss (Yi Xiang, et al. v. Inovalon Holdings Inc., et al., No. 16-4923, S.D. N.Y., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 78207).

Mealey's Insurance - Defendants Oppose Request For Discovery Of Tax Returns, Bank Records As To Reinsurer

ATLANTA - In a case over fraudulent transfers of reinsurance funds, various individual defendants in a May 18 brief oppose a request by insurers for a Georgia federal court to compel them to provide tax returns and bank account records pertaining to a reinsurer because the motion is premature (Canal Insurance Co. and Canal Indemnity Co. v. Golden Isles Reinsurance Company Ltd, et al., No. 15-cv-03331, N.D. Ga.).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Majority Of Colorado High Court Finds Blunt Wraps Taxable

DENVER - A Colorado Supreme Court majority on May 15 determined that blunt wraps are a tobacco product and subject to taxation under Colorado's tobacco tax because they are a "kind" or "form" of tobacco and fall within "the plain language of 'tobacco products'" under Colorado's tobacco tax (Colorado Department of Revenue, et al. v. Creager Mercantile Co. Inc., No. 15SC266, Colo. Sup., 2017 Colo. LEXIS 376).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Federal Judge Dismisses Counterclaim In Tobacco Contract Suit

RENO, Nev. - A federal judge in Nevada on April 13 found that a cigar company that filed a counterclaim against the owner of several properties in Nevada failed to state a "cognizable" counterclaim in a suit where the property owner claimed that the cigar company failed to collect taxes on tobacco products as required by Nevada law (Wynn Las Vegas LLC v. Cigar Row LLC, No. 2:15-CV-01079, D. Nev., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 56886).

Mealey's Litigation Procedure - Court: IRS Must Disclose Tax Returns Of Tribal Workers In Classification Dispute

WASHINGTON, D.C. - A Native American tribe can seek through discovery tax return information from the Internal Revenue Service for people who worked for the tribe in an effort to avoid paying withholding taxes for workers the IRS reclassified from contractors to employees, the U.S. Tax Court held April 5 (Mescalero Apache Tribe v. Commissioner of Internal Revenue, No. 28120-14, U.S. Tax, 2017 U.S. Tax Ct. LEXIS 12).

Mealey's Litigation Procedure - Testimony On Accounting Malpractice Is Reliable, Federal Judge Concludes

MINNEAPOLIS - A causation and liability expert "provides a meaningful summary of his accounting malpractice opinion," a Minnesota federal judge held March 28, also granting in part summary judgment to accounting firms to preclude recovery as to damages related to certain penalties, payment for delinquent taxes and attorney fees (Boris A. Miksic v. Boeckermann Graftsrom Mayer LLC, et al., No. 15-539, D. Minn., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 46906).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Texas Appeals Panel: Tobacco Tax Does Not Violate U.S. Constitution

AUSTIN, Texas - On remand from the Texas Supreme Court, a state appellate panel on March 24 found that a tax enacted on nonparticipating manufacturers in a statewide tobacco settlement does not violate the equal protection and due process clauses of the U.S. Constitution and reversed summary judgment granted to the small tobacco companies (Glenn Hegar, et al. v. Texas Small Tobacco Coalition and Global Tobacco Inc., No. 03-13-00753-CV, Texas App., 3rd Dist., 2017 Tex. App. LEXIS 2547).

Mealey's Banking & Finance - Judge: Factors Weigh In Favor Of Federal Court Retaining Jurisdiction

BLUEFIELD, W.Va. - A West Virginia federal judge on March 23 refused to dismiss an insurer's declaratory judgment lawsuit challenging coverage for a lawsuit alleging that the insured's employee filed fraudulent tax returns, finding that the factors weigh in favor of the federal court retaining jurisdiction (Ohio Security Insurance Co. v. K R Enterprises, Inc., et al., No. 15-16264, S.D. W.Va., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 42011).