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).
LOS ANGELES - A class of customers who purchase skin puncture lancets and test strips used by diabetics and filed a class complaint seeking an order to compel pharmacies to file a claim seeking a refund of the sales tax paid for those items failed to establish that the necessary "unique circumstances" exist that would require a court to create a new tax refund remedy, a California appellate panel ruled March 13 (Michael McClain, et al. v. Sav-On Drugs, et al., Nos. B265011 and B265029, Calif. App., 2nd Dist., Div. 2, 2017 Cal. App. LEXIS 217).
HARRISBURG, Pa. - The Pennsylvania Department of Revenue on March 9 removed a suit in which it is accused of creating an overly broad list of e-cigarette and tobacco products under the Tobacco Products Act of Pennsylvania that are taxed to federal court in Pennsylvania because many of the claims are based in federal law (Kingdom Vapor, et al. v. Pennsylvania Department of Revenue, No. 3:02-at-06000, Pa. M.D.).
NEW YORK - A New York federal judge on Feb. 14 dismissed a class suit accusing a retailer of charging excessive taxes on purchases where coupons are used, holding that the New York Tax Commission has the exclusive responsibility for examining those types of claims (Susan Kupferstein, et al. v. The TJX Companies, Inc., No. 15-5881, E.D. N.Y., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 20720).
LONDON - A U.K. oil and gas company on Feb. 7 said an international arbitral tribunal has issued an award on its treaty claims against Ukraine, awarding it $11.8 million in damages related to royalties and production taxes its subsidiary paid.
ROCHESTER, N.Y. - A federal judge in New York on Jan. 23 granted summary judgment to a group of government officials and dismissed the complaints brought by two Native American nations with prejudice after finding that an amendment to a tax on Native American-made cigarettes does not violate the tribes' right to tribal sovereignty (Seneca Nation of Indians, et al. v. David Patterson, et al., No. 1:10-cv-00687, W.D. N.Y.; 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 9060).
SEATTLE - A Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on Dec. 13 vacated a district court's order granting summary judgment to the federal government and remanded a suit brought by a Native American tribe over tobacco taxes with directions to dismiss the case for lack of subject matter jurisdiction because the claims brought by the tribe are barred by the Anti-Injunction Act (Confederated Tribes And Bands of the Yakama Indian Nation v. Alcohol and Trade Tobacco Bureau, et al., No. 14-35165, 9th Cir.; 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 22103).
SAN DIEGO - Affirming two lower courts' rulings, the California Supreme Court on Dec. 12 determined that online travel companies (OTCs) do not meet the definition of hotel "operators" in a San Diego tax ordinance and, thus, are not liable for paying transient occupancy tax amounts assessed by the city on hotel customers (In Re Transient Occupancy Tax Cases, No. S218400, Calif. Sup.; 2016 Cal. LEXIS 9592).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - In its Dec. 5 order list, the U.S. Supreme Court denied certiorari for a case in which a man convicted of tax evasion, which was based on evidence obtained from a mirror image copy of his computer hard drives, had asked the court to consider whether the good-faith exception to the exclusionary rule applied to evidence obtained via a search warrant issued based on a predicate violation of the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution (Stavros M. Ganias v. United States of America, No. 16-263, U.S. Sup.).
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).
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.).
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]).
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.).
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.).
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).
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).
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).
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).
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).
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.
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).
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).
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.).
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.