LexisNexis® Legal Newsroom
Mealey's Litigation Procedure - Judge Confirms $3.2M Award, Finds Company Cannot Withhold Taxes

NEW YORK - A New York federal judge on Nov. 3 granted an English company's petition to confirm a $3.2 million arbitral award plus interest issued in its favor in relation to a patent license agreement dispute, finding that the respondent was not entitled to deduct amounts from the award to satisfy Taiwanese tax laws (Mondis Technology Ltd. v. Wistron Corporation, No. 15-CV-02340, S.D. N.Y.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 152785).

Mealey's Litigation Procedure - Government Opposes Certiorari In 4th Amendment Exclusionary Rule Exception Case

WASHINGTON, D.C. - In an Oct. 31 brief in the U.S. Supreme Court, the U.S. government opposes a grant of certiorari to a man convicted of tax evasion, arguing that law enforcement properly retained mirrored copies of the man's hard drives via a warrant that was valid per the good-faith exception to the exclusionary rule of the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution (Stavros M. Ganias v. United States of America, No. 16-263, U.S. Sup.).

Mealey's Litigation Procedure - Romanian Agency Reverses $13.7M Tax Assessment, Gabriel Resources Reports

WASHINGTON, D.C. - A Canadian resource company on Sept. 27 said the Romanian National Agency for Fiscal Administration (ANAF) has reversed a tax assessment in which it sought $13.7 million in value added tax and penalties and announced updates in a related arbitration currently pending before the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) (Gabriel Resources Ltd. and Gabriel Resources [Jersey] v. Romania [ICSID Case No. ARB/15/31]).

Mealey's Bankruptcy - Specialty Products, Bondex Get More Time To Resolve Tax Claims

WILMINGTON, Del. - A Delaware federal bankruptcy judge on Sept. 16 gave reorganized Chapter 11 debtors Specialty Products Holding Corp. and affiliate Bondex International Inc. three more months to object to non-asbestos claims so the debtors can continue negotiating resolutions for several tax claims (In re: Specialty Products Holding Corp., et al., No. 10-11780, D. Del. Bkcy.).

Mealey's Litigation Procedure - Microsoft Says Documents Sought By IRS In Audit Are Privileged

SEATTLE - In a Sept. 12 brief filed in Washington federal court, Microsoft Corp. contends that documents sought by the Internal Revenue Service in an enforcement action "are protected by multiple privilege claims" as confidential legal and tax advisory communications (United States of America v. Microsoft Corp., et al., No. 2:15-cv-00102, W.D. Wash.).

Mealey's Insurance - Panel Remands Issue Of Whether Provisions Cover Alleged Unauthorized Transfers

PASADENA, Calif. - The Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on July 29 affirmed a lower federal court's finding that there is no coverage owed under an insurance policy's "computer fraud" provision for any transfers to a payroll company that were authorized by the insured, but remanded for the lower court to determine whether the policy's "computer fraud" or "funds transfer fraud" provisions cover the purported unauthorized transfers totaling $11,991.89 in a coverage dispute arising from unpaid federal payroll taxes (Pestmaster Services, Inc. v. Travelers Casualty and Surety Company of America, No. 14-56294, 9th Cir; 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 13829).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Indian Cigarette Maker Wins Partial Victory On New York State's Claims

CENTRAL ISLIP, N.Y. - A Native American cigarette manufacturer was awarded summary judgment July 21 in New York federal court on most federal cigarette tax claims filed against it by the State of New York but lost summary judgment on state law claims for failure to sell unstamped cigarettes to licensed stamping agents and failure to file annual manufacturing compliance certifications (State of New York v. Mountain Tobacco Company, d/b/a King Mountain Tobacco Company, Inc., No. 12-cv-6276, E.D. N.Y.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 95329).

Mealey's Labor & Employment - California Federal Judge Denies TRO Against IRS For Pension Plan Levies

SAN DIEGO - A California federal judge on June 29 denied a motion for a temporary restraining order (TRO) sought to stop the Internal Revenue Service from tapping a pension plan to collect back taxes (Jim Nemlowill v. United States of America, No. 16CV1642, S.D. Calif.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 84843).

Mealey's IP/Tech - New Jersey State Judge Tosses Complaint Over Dunkin' Donuts' Pricing

HACKENSACK, N.J. - A New Jersey judge on June 28 dismissed class action claims against Dunkin' Brands Inc. alleging that it improperly assessed sales tax on certain items sold at local Dunkin' Donuts franchises (Ron Frate, et al. v. Dunkin' Brands Inc., et al., No. BER-L-1271-16, N.J. Super., Bergen Co.; 2016 N.J. Super. Unpub. LEXIS 1499).

Mealey's Litigation Procedure - Psychologist May Testify On Conspiracy Mentality Symptoms In Tax-Evasion Suit, Judge Says

PHOENIX - A social psychologist may opine in a tax-evasion lawsuit that certain people exhibit a general conspiracy mentality that makes them susceptible to belief in a wide variety of conspiracy theories, an Arizona federal judge ruled May 10; however, the judge barred the expert from testifying that a defendant's beliefs are sincerely held (United States of America v. Gary Steven Christensen, No. 14-08164, D. Ariz.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 61673).

Mealey's PI/Product Liability - Pfizer, Allergan Call Off Merger After 'Inversion' Tax Rule Change

NEW YORK - Pfizer Inc. on April 6 said it and Allergan PLC have agreed to terminate their November merger agreement "as a result of the occurrence of an adverse tax law change," according to a Form 8-K filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

Mealey's Litigation Procedure - Class Suit Over Tax Refunds Offsets Tossed By D.C. Federal Judge

WASHINGTON, D.C. - A District of Columbia federal judge on March 15 dismissed a class complaint against several federal government entities involved in the alleged interception of tax refunds and application of those funds to alleged overpayments by the U.S. Social Security Administration (SSA), finding that the plaintiffs' claims are now moot (Tina Heard, et al. v. United States Social Security Administration, et al., No. 15-230, D. D.C.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 32748).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Federal Judge Denies Tobacco Importer, Distributor's Motion For Injunctive Relief

FLORENCE, S.C. - A federal judge in South Carolina on March 9 denied a tobacco importer and distributor's motion for a temporary restraining order, preliminary injunction or a stay against the U.S. Department of Treasury's Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) to enjoin administrative proceedings relating to its importation permit because it is not experiencing harm (Tobaccoville USA, Inc. v. U.S. Department of Treasury No. 4:16-cv-00424-RBH, D. S.C., 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 29877).

Mealey's PI/Product Liability - Incretin Mimetic MDL Court Asked By Plaintiffs To Re-Tax Costs Or Stay Enforcement

SAN DIEGO - Plaintiffs in the incretin mimetic multidistrict litigation on Feb. 25 asked a California federal court to re-tax the $683,440 in costs it awarded to four defendants, to consider rescinding the award altogether or to hold it abeyance while the plaintiffs appeal summary judgment for the defendants (In Re: Incretin-Based Therapies Products Liability Litigation, MDL Docket No. 2452, No. 13-md-2452, S.D. Calif.).

Mealey's Litigation Procedure - Petroleum Company And Albania Agree To Hire Tax Expert, Suspend ICC Case

CALGARY, Alberta - A Canadian petroleum company on Feb. 24 announced that the Government of Albania has signed an agreement that will resolve a tax dispute and will end arbitration before the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) International Court of Arbitration.

Mealey's Litigation Procedure - Panel Finds Horse Trainer Was Not Qualified To Testify On Horse-Breeding Business

CHICAGO - A horse trainer was not qualified in the business and financial aspects of horse breeding, the Seventh Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals held Jan. 26, upholding the exclusion of the trainer's testimony in a tax refund lawsuit (Estate of Harold Stuller, deceased, Wilma Stuller and L.S.A., Inc. v. United States of America, No. 15-1545, 7th Cir.; 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 1233).

Mealey's Insurance - Texas High Court Dismisses Hotel Tax Liability Coverage Suit After Parties Settle

AUSTIN, Texas - The Texas Supreme Court dismissed an insurer's appeal in a dispute over excess coverage for defense costs incurred in an underlying lawsuit alleging that the insured failed to fully remit hotel taxes, according to its Jan. 15 pronouncement (Illinois Union Insurance Co. v. Sabre Holdings Corporation, et al., No. 15-0716, Texas Sup.).

Mealey's IP/Tech - Virginia Federal Judge Denies Dismissal Of Copyright, Trademark Claims

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. - An intellectual property dispute between a tax preparation firm and its former employee will proceed, a Virginia federal judge ruled Jan. 5 (Tax International LLC v. Rasheme Kilburn et al., No. 15-23, E.D. Va.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 1416).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Judge Rules For Oregon Department In Relation To Tobacco Products Assessments

SALEM, Ore. - An Oregon magistrate judge on Dec. 11 granted a motion for summary judgment filed by the Oregon Department of Revenue, finding that the "wholesale sales price" of untaxed tobacco products constituted the total sales price that was paid by a hookah distributor (Global Hookah Distributors Inc. v. Department of Revenue, State of Oregon, No. 140466N, Ore. Tax, Mag. Div.; 2015 Ore. Tax LEXIS 159).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - New Jersey Panel Affirms That 'Throw-Out Rule' Did Not Apply To Tobacco Company

TRENTON, N.J. - A New Jersey appellate panel on Dec. 4 affirmed the New Jersey Tax Court's ruling that a tobacco company with no operations inside of New Jersey did not owe a tax bill of more than $24 million (Lorillard Licensing Company LLC v. Director, Division of Taxation, No. A-2033-13T1, N.J. Super., App. Div.; 2015 N.J. Super. Unpub. Lexis 2789).

Mealey's Insurance - Judge: District's $1.6M Lost Tax Revenue Is 'Legally Recoverable Property Interest'

PROVIDENCE, R.I. - A Rhode Island federal judge held Nov. 12 that the Central Coventry Fire District's tax liens can be considered property that the district owned or was legally liable for, denying an insurer's motion for summary judgment in a dispute over coverage for the district's $1.6 million budget shortfall caused by a tax error (Mark Pfeiffer, in his capacity as receiver of the Central Coventry Fire District v. American Alternative Insurance Corp., No. 14-521, D. R.I.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 153299).

Mealey's Litigation Procedure - Panel Upholds Divorce Judgment Based On Business Valuation Expert Testimony

WAUKESHA, Wis. - A trial court properly relied on testimony of a business valuation expert to conclude that a failure to pay tax liabilities did not constitute marital waste, a Wisconsin appeals panel affirmed Oct. 28 (In re the marriage of: Rebecca Lynn Sternat v. Shawn William Sternat, No. 2014AP2844, Wis. App., Dist. 2; 2015 Wisc. App. LEXIS 776).

Mealey's PI/Product Liability - Judge: R.J. Reynolds' Report On Cigarette Sales Not 'Relevant Information'

WASHINGTON, D.C. - A federal judge in the District of Columbia on Sept. 17 dismissed a lawsuit brought by R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. (RJR) that had contended that federal agencies wrongly ignored a report the company issued pertaining to tax assessments on cigarette sales (R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company v. United States Department of Agriculture, et al., No. 14-1388, D. D.C.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 124159).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - New Jersey Judge Orders Purchaser To Pay Taxes On Cartons Of Cigarettes

TRENTON, N.J. - A New Jersey tax judge on Aug. 26 granted a motion for summary judgment filed by a director of the division of taxation, finding that a New Jersey resident was liable for paying taxes on cigarettes he purchased from an Internet vendor (Kenneth Hudacko v. Director, Division of Taxation, No. 015082-2014, N.J. Tax; 2015 N.J. Tax Unpub. LEXIS 70).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Appellate Panel: Tobacco Store's License Properly Revoked For Code Violations

CHICAGO - An Illinois appellate court on Aug. 24 affirmed a trial court ruling that it was not an abuse of discretion for Chicago agencies to revoke a tobacco store's license for its violations of the city's municipal code regarding proper packaging - and payment of taxes - pertaining to cigarettes (Smoke N Stuff v. City of Chicago, et al., No. 1-14-0936, Ill. App., 1st Dist., Div. 1; 2015 Ill. App. LEXIS 646).