DENVER - A lay witness did not exceed the scope of Federal Rule of Evidence 701 in a tax fraud trial, a 10th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel found July 28, affirming a lower court's conviction and rejecting the appellant's challenge of the witness's testimony (United States of America v. Curtis L. Morris, No. 12-1474, 10th Cir.; 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 14292).
SAN FRANCISCO - The Federal Aviation Administration Authorization Act (FAAAA) does not preempt a California unfair competition law (UCL) lawsuit filed by the state alleging that a trucking company misclassifies drivers as independent contractors in order to avoid paying payroll taxes or provide workers' compensation, the California Supreme Court held July 28 (The People ex rel. Kamala D. Harris, etc. v. Pac Anchor Transportation, Inc., et al., No. S194388, Calif. Sup.; 2014 Cal. LEXIS 5181).
TAMPA, Fla. - A Florida federal judge on July 23 refused to dismiss a class complaint accusing a pizza chain of wrongfully charging sales tax on a delivery fee and negligently misrepresenting that tax (Bruce Schojan, et al. v. Papa John's International Inc., et al., No. 14-1218, M.D. Fla.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 100319).
RICHMOND, Va. - Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) language governing whether individuals who enroll through the federal exchange are entitled to tax credits is ambiguous enough to defer to the Internal Revenue Service's interpretation, a Fourth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel held July 22 (David King, et al. v. Kathleen Sebelius, et al., No. 14-1158, 4th Cir.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) premium tax credits are available only for individuals who enrolled through state exchanges and not the federal exchange, a District of Columbia U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals panel majority held July 22. The dissent argued that the suit is a "not-so-veiled attempt to gut" the ACA (Jacqueline Halbig, et al. v. Sylvia Mathews Burwell, et al., No. 14-5018, D.C. Cir.).
SAN FRANCISCO - The California Supreme Court on July 9 dismissed an appeal of a consumer class action alleging a state unfair competition law (UCL) violation against a wireless phone company for failing to disclose the amount of taxes charged for phones, remanding the case in light of the court's recent decision in a similar case finding that California's tax code provides the sole remedy for consumers who believe that a retailer improperly charged taxes, according to a court docket entry (Richard A. Yabsley v. Cingular Wireless, LLC, et al., No. S176146, Calif. Sup.).
CINCINNATI - The Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on July 10 affirmed a trial court's decision granting a motion to dismiss a class action filed by two Ohio counties, finding that the Federal National Mortgage Association (Fannie Mae) and the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corp. (Freddie Mac) were exempt from paying state real property transfer taxes (Board of Commissioners of Montgomery County, Ohio, et al. v. Federal Housing Agency, et al., No. 13-4429, 6th Cir.; 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 13042).
OLYMPIA, Wash. - The Washington Supreme Court on July 3 found that a lower court erred when it delayed adjudication of an insurer's duty to defend Expedia Inc. against numerous underlying lawsuits alleging that Expedia failed to collect the right amount of local occupancy taxes from its customers, remanding for the lower court to decide the insurer's duty to defend and to stay discovery until a factual determination can be made as to which parts of discovery are potentially prejudicial to Expedia in the underlying litigation (Expedia Inc., et al. v. Steadfast Insurance Co., et al., No. 88673-3, Wash. Sup.; 2014 Wash. LEXIS 483).
HOUSTON - Harris County, Texas, on July 2 filed a lawsuit in federal court claiming that the oil spill caused by the explosion of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig in April 2010 caused it to lose money in hotel occupancy taxes and business personal property taxes (Harris County, Texas v. BP Exploration & Production Inc., et al., No. 14-cv-01847, S.D. Texas).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - Individuals who obtained insurance through the federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) marketplace had, on average, access to 47 plans offered by five health insurers and paid just $69 per month for the most popular "silver plan" after tax credits, according to a June 18 Department of Health and Human Services report.
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.).