Annotations 12/2012

(eff. beginning with 2012 Forms W-2 to be given employees by end of January 2013)(IRS modifies prior interim guidance concerning health care act's reporting requirement for employer-sponsored health coverage; IRS notes that effective Jan. 1, 2011, aggregate cost of applicable employer-sponsored health insurance coverage must be reported on Form W-2; reporting optional for 2011 and IRS later provided relief for small employers (where less than 250 Forms W-2 filed for preceding calendar year) by making such reporting optional through at least 2012; IRS notes that reporting requirement does not apply to coverage under FSA if contributions occur only through employee salary reduction elections).


(taxpayer's subsidiary donated land and mineral rights largely located in National Park to National Park Service and claimed charitable deduction; due to restrictions on mining in National Park, FMV of gift must be reduced by cost of removing restrictions on use and time necessary to receive removal of restrictions; if donated property only has value as mine and mining restrictions are significant, then property worthless). 


(professional consultant working for business on separate consulting projects could be an employee for one project and an independent contractor for the other project; relationship between worker and business to be examined separately).


(decedent's will gave residue of estate to trust for surviving spouse; trust split into two trusts with one trust to pay surviving spouse income for life then to spouse's estate upon death with trust terminating and remaining balance passing to Family Trust that would pay to daughter for life and then to daughter's issue; estate tax return timely filed and estate elected to treat trust property as QTIP, but did not indicate trust was to be severed into exempt and non-exempt trust; no reverse QTIP election made; IRS granted 120 days to sever trust into exempt and non-exempt trust and make reverse QTIP election). 


(petitioner bought two properties, one for investment and one as a principal residence, for total price of $1.8 million, under a single loan and allocated $1,000,000 to debt on primary residence and $800,000 to debt on investment property;  no investment interest deduction allowed for 2005 because petitioner did not have any net investment income; for 2006, no mortgage amount to be allocated to investment property and, hence, no investment interest deduction principal residence interest deduction limited to interest attributable to $1.1 million loan; properties financed with single credit line deed of trust note).


(petitioner and brother appointed as co-executors of mother's estate and, as co-executors, transferred title in mother's residence to petitioner for $215,000; petitioner claimed FTHBC and IRS denied credit on basis that purchase was from a "related person"; court agreed, noting that while siblings are excluded from the definition of related persons under I.R.C. Sec. 36(c)(5) and Sec. 267(b)(1), the executor of an estate and a beneficiary is deemed to be a related person (See I.R.C. Sec. 36(c)(5) and Sec. 267(b)(13); home acquired by beneficiary of estate from executor of estate and substance of transaction agrees with the form of the transaction).


(taxpayer found to have sold property on installment method and did not elect out; taxpayer's intention that sale be cash sale but where it was changed at last minute with further intent of reversion to cash sale not controlling; no deduction allowed for labor expenses because only Form 1099-Misc. supplied and not filed with IRS and amount on Form failed to match deduction claimed).


(petitioner (tax practitioner) and wife (real estate agent) owned rental properties; deduction for expenses related to one property allowed because petitioner had intent to rent property out during year at issue and expenses incurred were for purpose of producing income in conjunction with I.R.C. Sec. 212; petitioner rendered management services, advertised property for rent and sought insurance coverage). 


(farm workers not entitled to back wages for the time period of January 2009 through September 2010 as a result of Obama Administration attempt to suspend 2008 regulations in violation of Administrative Procedure Act; 1987 rule had established a formula for determining farm worker wage rate, but such rule changed effective January 17, 2009; Obama Administration Department of Labor attempted to "suspend" 2008 regulations but such suspension not possible without going through notice and comment rulemaking procedures; no good cause exception to notice and comment procedures existed; Obama Administration improperly limited "content" of public comments in its rulemaking and improperly imposed 10-day comment period).


(capitalized interest while property is being produced must be treated as part of the property’s total cost for purposes of bonus depreciation safe harbor which specifies that physical work of significant degree begins (for accrual basis taxpayer) when more than 10 percent of total cost of property incurred (not counting land cost and cost of any preliminary activities).


(upon last of parents to die, three sons owned farmland as tenants-in-common and operated farm as joint venture until sometime in 2005; in 2005 sons agreed to approximately equal division of farm based on survey; agreement broke down and partition action filed; one son filed counterclaim asserting adverse possession; trial court, on adverse possession claim determined that usage was permissive during parents' lifetimes and property divided; on appeal, court affirmed on basis that prior use was permissive and not adverse; trial court's use of equalized value approach to dividing property within court's discretion). 


(court denies plaintiffs' petition for rehearing from court's prior decision reported at 684 F.3d 102 (D.C. Cir. 2012) that EPA's "endangerment finding" that carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas emissions are a threat to public health and the environment should be upheld under arbitrary and capricious standard; two dissenting opinions pointed out that Supreme Court opinion in Massachusetts, et al. v. Environmental Protection Agency, et al., 549 U.S. 497 (2007) where the Court held that EPA had the authority to regulate emissions from new automobiles under the EPA's motor vehicle program based on the meaning of the term "air pollutant" contained in that program, not controlling in the different context of the Prevention of Significant Deterioration portion of the Clean Air Act). 


(plaintiff claimed that defendant discharged chicken litter containing various pollutants into navigable waters of the United States (ditches that drained into Chesapeake Bay) from defendant's 300-acre farm without required CWA permit; plaintiff's initial claim involved alleged chicken litter in pile near river, but pile turned out to be sewage sludge (bio-solids) from Ocean City, MD intended for use as fertilizer on defendant's crops; plaintiff then changed claim to assert that pile tainted with chicken manure and that chicken manure illegally discharged in trace amounts from exhaust fans in defendant's confinement chicken houses (two houses each containing 40,000 chickens), equipment tires and boots; while court noted that possibility that some pollution had come from defendant's chicken houses, plaintiff failed to meet burden of proof by preponderance of evidence in establishing that illegal discharge occurred; plaintiff did not sample dust emitted from fans to determine if chicken litter present, and no eyewitness account of actual discharge; obvious source of discharge was cow manure from 42 cows pastured near ditch (non-point source discharges not regulable under CWA); contract chicken supplier (Perdue Farms) had no connection with defendant's cattle operation and is not liable as beyond Notice of Intent which was limited to poultry waste, and insufficient evidence presented to establish CWA liability on Perdue Farms even if court had found CWA violation stemming from defendant's poultry operation). 


(case involves patent dispute surrounding "GPS System to Provide Planter Tripping for Crop Research Plots"; patent in question issued on Jan. 7, 2003, but plaintiff claimed that method claimed in patent created at least one year earlier by unrelated third party who worked with planter manufacturer and Cargill employees to develop software for system utilized in patent, and that such system used to plant Cargill's Seward, NE, research fields in 1998;  summary judgment denied plaintiff on one claim, but granted on eight other claims on basis that plaintiff's system anticipated defendant's patent claim limitations and plaintiff's system in public use before defendant's system).


(court-ordered joint parenting agreement governed petitioners' illegitimate son; petitioners did not live together during year in issue but, mother had custody and father had visitation rights and was required to pay child support; dependency exemption altered between parents from year-to-year, but father's deductions dependent on paying child support; mother did not sign court order and father files return without Form 8332; mother signs form 8332 four years later; IRS denied dependency exemption for father because he was a non-custodial parent that failed to attach Form 8332 to the return; court agreed with IRS - no deductions or credits for the father). 


(petitioner had a sole proprietorship window installation business and petitioner's wife was a cosmetologist; petitioner's business deductions denied for vehicle expenses due to lack of documentation; same outcome for wife's vehicle expenses). 


(petitioner divorced from wife and ex-wife given custody of couple's son; arbitration award and two state court orders in different years specified that petitioner entitled to dependency deduction and wife had to execute Form 8332 in petitioner's favor so long as petitioner paid child support; petitioner paid child support through 2007, but no Form 8332 executed; petitioner remarried and claimed dependency exemption for 2007 and attached arbitration award and signed child support orders; deduction disallowed because state court order signed by custodial parent not in compliance with I.R.C. Sec. 152(a) on account of failure to unconditionally specify that ex-wife would not claim child as dependent for 2007). 


(petitioners, formerly married couple, claimed dependency exemption deduction and child tax credit with respect to child; pursuant to state court order, ex-wife executed form 8332 in which she agreed not to claim exemption for daughter as dependent for years at issue; ex-wife went ahead and claimed dependency exemption and child tax credit  for 2007 and 2008 on belief that court order was erroneous; ex-husband also claimed child tax credit for same years and attached Form 8332 to returns; ex-wife loses because Form 8332 not rendered invalid by an error in state court order or because she signed Form 8332 due to court order to do so; thus, daughter not qualifying child under I.R.C. Sec. 152(e)).


(debtor's Chapter 12 plan not confirmable; various properties undervalued and debtor not able to pay total value as determined by court plus interest at fair market rate; debtor disregarded previous court order and diverted $450,000 that was potentially subject to creditor's lien to plant and harvest 2010 crop, direct payments to creditor not allowed so as to bypass trustee's statutory fee; debtor's separate corporation "alter ego" of debtor and impacts liquidation analysis and makes such analysis inadequate and incomprehensible).


(decedent bought farm with co-habitator and took title as "husband and wife, as survivorship marital property"; upon decedent's death, estate argued that deed ambiguous because decedent and co-habitator never married; court determined that state law (Wis. Stat. Sec. 700.19) applied which specifies that creation of joint tenancy determined by intent expressed in document of title, instrument of transfer or bill of sale, and that if "husband and wife" specified in document, then joint tenancy results; no language in deed expressed intent to not create joint tenancy; joint tenancy created). 


(takings claims by different subclasses of landowners involving claims for easements, condemnations, and adverse possession related to conversion of railroad to trails under National Trails System Act Amendments of 1983; court held both subclasses of landowners in which easements were granted had valid takings claim as easements granted were strictly for railroad use and not for public trail use; class members whose land had been condemned for railroad purposes also had takings claims as condemnations were for railroad uses only; court held evidence insufficient to determine ownership of parcels affected by adverse possession, so summary judgment denied as to those parcels with factual inquiry to be developed at trial; court also awarded partial summary judgment holding federal government liable for takings as to any ownership interests proven on the date of the reversion and taking; court also held that measure of damages to be determined would be decrease in value of land by encumbrance of trail easement).


(evidence established that public road existed on section line which plaintiffs had been using to access otherwise inaccessible hay pasture until defendant's obstructed road blocking plaintiff's access and preventing plaintiff's from harvesting hay crop; 1927 county order establishing route as public highway entered into evidence; in ND congressional section lines are open to public travel without necessity of any prior governmental action by virtue of 1866 law (Sec. 2477) where the federal government made offer of section line easements on public land and such offer accepted by Territory of Dakota in 1877 which stated, "...all section lines in this Territory shall be and are hereby declared public highways as far as practicable, Provided, That they shall not interfere with existing highways...."; trial court award of $20,000 damages to plaintiffs upheld). 


(petitioners, married couple, moved into husband's house after marriage; wife had no ownership interest in house, but wife signed deed of trust when house refinanced; couple divorced in 2008 and wife buys new home in 2009 and claimed first-time homebuyer tax credit; IRS disallowed credit based on ownership interest in prior marital home due to signing of deed of trust; wife's attorney prevails in obtaining FTHBTC for wife of $8,000 at IRS appeals level on basis that she signed deed of trust due to state law requirement; petitioner not entitled to attorney fees because IRS position substantially justified at time statutory notice of deficiency issue). 


(Chapter 12 bankruptcy debtors who owned a timber business filed numerous pro se documents despite representation by counsel challenging the legitimacy of the creditors’ secured loans; despite numerous pro se filings, debtors failed to file notice of insurance policy on secured property or proposed Chapter 12 plan; court held hearing on confirmation of plan creditors’ motion to dismiss Chapter 12 filing and to impose 2 year moratorium on debtors’ filing chapter 12 action or request for adequate protection of property and debtors’ counsel’s request to withdraw; after hearing, court denied debtors confirmation plan, ordered dismissal of case with two year ban on filing by debtors, allowed withdrawal of counsel, and deemed moot remaining issues; debtors filed motion to reconsider arguing court erred in failing to allow evidence of securitization and standing issues related to creditors; motion was denied and debtors appealed; on appeal, court held that debtors never filed a valid objection to creditors’ claims because pro se filings occurred while represented by counsel and debtors objected to withdrawal of counsel; because courts do not have to give validity to pro se filings when parties represented, the court did not err in failing to set for hearing debtors’ pro se arguments against creditors’ standing; appellate court also held that bankruptcy court did not err in refusing debtors’ evidentiary requests because these were premised on request to proceed as “private attorney general” and debtors acknowledged they had no license to practice law; court also affirmed denial of confirmation plan as inadequate because they failed to include any farming expenses and historical earnings presented at varied times were wildly inconsistent; court also affirmed dismissal of the case with prejudice for a period of two years based on “bad faith”; court affirmed denial of motion to reconsider).


(decedent died on 8/14/08 and estate tax return due on 5/14/09, but estate filed request for extension of time to file and pay tax which was granted and filing deadline extended to 11/14/09 with tax payment due 5/14/10; estate made partial payment of $760,000 on 5/14/09 and second payment of $2,200,000 on 8/31/09 which satisfied balance of estate's tax liability as estimated at time request for extension of time to file made; during summer of 2009, estate's property values plummeted and appraisals believed to exceed FMV of properties at that time; as of 11/14/09, estate could either file timely return with appraised values followed by amended return upon sale of estate properties. or wait until properties sold followed by filing single return; even though first option would result in filing of late return, estate believed that no penalties would result because estate had already paid more than eventual tax liability; return filed on 2/15/10 and IRS assessed late filing penalty of $259,325.85 plus $20,774.30 of interest; court determined that estate lacked reasonable cause for late filing - advice on avoiding audits not reasonable cause; estate had obligation to timely file with best information available at time for filing return; willfull neglect of timely filing present; summary judgment for government granted; note that estate fully paid its estimated tax liability by extended payment deadline, but not by original payment deadline).


(adversary proceeding within Chapter 7 bankruptcy; ag supply dealers’ liens determined to have super priority status over plaintiff’s liens to extent the feed supplied to hogs shipped to Iowa to the extent the acquisition value of the livestock was exceeded by the livestock’s value at the time the lien attached; dealers brought summary judgment motions claiming sales price of hogs exceeded acquisition costs which were based on per hog grower payments, so entire amount of liens should be paid; court held state court decisions did not provide guidance on calculating difference between acquisition price and livestock’s value, so summary judgment denied).  


(motion to dismiss class action lawsuit alleging deceptive and misleading labeling of several of defendant’s products; allegations include stating products are 100% natural when containing chemicals and artificial ingredients, certifying organic when containing disqualifying ingredients, failure to use common terms for ingredients or misplacing ingredients; false representation of products being free of artificial ingredients, false antioxidant, nutrient, and health claims, and claiming products to be fresh or have a fresh taste; all claims brought under state statutes and common law; defendants argued federal law preempts many claims; court held state claims regarding labels of organic are not preempted by Organic Foods Product Act (OFPA); Plaintiffs' antioxidants, ingredient list/propellent, spices and other preservative claims not preempted by the National Labeling and Education Act (NLEA) because state enacted laws identical to federal law; court also held FDA was not primary jurisdiction to determine definition of natural as a reasonable consumer standard is to be used in labeling claims; court held that all three elements of a false labeling claim must be met: falsity, reliance, and injury; court dismissed plaintiffs’ falsity claims regarding only website health statements, but allowed plaintiffs to amend petition; defendant argued plaintiffs could not show reliance on the “natural” claims on the label because the artificial ingredients were disclosed on the ingredients list; court denied dismissal of reliance allegations for all complaints; court also held plaintiffs alleged sufficient injury by alleging purchase of the products would not have occurred if they had been properly labeled; court did dismiss some allegations under Rule 9(b) for lack of specificity for failure to specifically identify products, but allowed plaintiffs to amend petition to satisfy requirements; court dismissed with prejudice as a matter of law plaintiffs’ warranty claims under Song-Beverly Act and Magnuson-Moss Act; court denied dismissal of an unjust enrichment claim because it was premised on quasi-contract principles).


(petitioner, former Democratic member of U.S. House and lawyer that practiced tax law, donated permanent conservation easement on 80 percent of 74-acre parcel to qualified land trust; land subject to mortgage at time of donation and mortgage not subordinated until two years after petitioner received statutory notice of deficiency from IRS; petitioner argued that state (ID) Uniform Conservation Easement Act protected charitable use, but court noted Act would have only protected whatever interest remained after lender satisfied; no partial subordination involved; negligence penalty imposed). 


(petitioner, aeronautical engineer, owned several rental properties that he rented out and managed, and claimed losses from the rental activity for 2005-2007; IRS denied loss deductions on basis that petitioner subject to passive loss rules because petitioner failed to qualify as a real estate professional; court agreed with IRS because petitioner did not perform more than 50 percent of his personal services in real property trades or businesses; no contemporaneous log kept and testimony vague and indefinite; merely being on-call with respect to management services doesn't generate hours that can be counted toward 50 percent test).


(issue was whether no-fault auto insurance benefits are excludible from gross income under I.R.C. Sec. 104(a)(3); such benefits covers reasonable costs for products, services and accommodations for injured person's care, recovery or rehabilitation and are paid regardless of fault; IRS concludes that such benefits are not includible in gross income based on the statute, regs. and Rev. Rul. 73-154, 1973-1 C.B. 50). 


(case involves 2.24-acre tract on plaintiff’s farm that defendant claimed was wetland; tract at issue was initially drained and tiled in 1964 and crops were grown on tract through at least 1982; in early 1980s drainage on tract deteriorated; after enactment of Swampbuster provisions of 1985 Farm Bill, NRCS made wetland determinations on tract in 1988 and 1993 from which plaintiff did not appeal; plaintiff executed Form AD-1026 in 2008 indicating he was intending to plant crops on land for which a highly erodible determination had not been made and conduct land drainage or associated activities that had not been evaluated by NRCS; executed form also authorized NRCS to conduct wetland determination on plaintiff’s property; 2008 wetland determination made and plaintiff appealed by requesting reconsideration and mediation; mediation agreement entered into in early 2009 under which NRCS agreed to make a wetland delineation and allowing planting of crops in spring of 2009; NRCS conducted delineation after spring crops planted resulting in Final Technical Determination that tract was converted wetland and that plaintiff was ineligible for farm program benefits; plaintiff appealed to the NAD which suspended appeal while mediation continued; mediation failed and appeal proceeded; NAD Hearing Officer upheld NRCS determination and noted that tract could not be determined to be prior converted wetland because it had wetland conditions as of Dec. 23, 1985; Hearing Officer also noted that plaintiff did not request minimal effect determination before converting wetland; Deputy Director upheld NAD Hearing Officer decision on appeal; court upheld NRCS interpretation of 16 U.S.C. §3822(b)(2)(D) that status of land as of December 23, 1985 was determinative of issue irrespective of whether land drained and cropped prior to that date and merely reverted to wetland status as a result of deterioration to drainage work citing Horn Farms, Inc. v. Johanns, 397 F.3d 472 (7th Cir. 2005); agency determination entitled to Chevron deference). 


(plaintiff filed claim for loss of rice damaged while in storage during drying process; claim excluded under policy exclusion for damages to contents of “rice drying house”; plaintiff brought suit arguing “rice drying house” was ambiguous; district court granted summary judgment to defendant finding no ambiguity and exclusion applied; on appeal, court affirmed finding the term had an ordinary, prevailing meaning and the court would not create ambiguity where none exists).


(aerogenerator deemed to be placed service in stated year for purposes of I.R.C. Sec. 45, 167 and 168 even if transmission line not completed by end of year if aerogenerators can deliver at least stated-percent of capacity to market in year of completion by means of temporary intertie; aerogenerators must also rotate across temporary intertie such that each aerogenerator operates regularly and consistently). 


(Mormon group formed as religious trust to preserve and advance religious doctrines of Mormonism as espoused by founder Joseph Smith, Jr., sought tax-exempt status under I.R.C. Sec. 501(a) as an organization described in I.R.C. Sec. 501(d); IRS denied exemption on basis that group's belief in and promotion of polygamy via "Celestial Marriage" was illegal under state and federal law and a charitable trust cannot be created for an illegal purpose). 


(lessors of farmland failed to perfect interest in lessee’s government payments; bank did perfect interest in government payments and applied payments to balance of loan owed by lessees that declared bankruptcy; lessors did not receive full rental payments before lessee filed bankruptcy; lessors sued the bank claiming a superior lien in government payments and that a constructive trust existed because bank had knowledge of leases, so payments should have come to lessors; district court granted summary judgment in favor of bank; appellate court affirmed holding no constructive trust existed because there was no confidential relationship between bank and lessors).


(petitioner provided security services to businesses during his time when he was an off-duty police officer; petitioner reported his service income on "other income" line on return; petitioner determined to be independent contractor and income subject to self-employment tax; petitioner also failed to qualify as real estate professional under I.R.C. Sec. 469(c)(7)(B) for failure to meet the 750-hour test and failure to meet the more than 50 percent test).


(bank made bonus payments to IRAs of new customers; such payments not subject to information reporting, but payments to new I.R.C. Sec. 529 plans are subject to information reporting if of $600 or more). 


(petitioner was insurance salesman before losing his job due to low sales; prior to termination petitioner enrolled in employer's defined benefit plan which required petitioner to stay with employer for five years and meet certain (unattainable) sales quotas; petitioner never contributed to defined benefit plan and never joined company's defined contribution plan; petitioner made $6,000 catch-up contribution to an IRS; company issued W-2 to petitioner stating he was enrolled in company's plan; consequently IRS denied deduction for contribution to IRA under I.R.C. Sec. 219 because petitioner was "actively enrolled" in employer's retirement plan; court upheld IRS determination even though petitioner didn't know he was enrolled, received nothing from "enrollment" and never made any contributions; "actively enrolled" means petitioner's name was on the books irrespective of whether any contributions made or whether there is any right to receive anything from the employer's plan). 


(court held debtor’s third bankruptcy filing (two under Chapter 12 and one under Chapter 11) was made in bad-faith and to frustrate secured creditors from foreclosing on over-leveraged farm; owner also filed individual Chapter 12 bankruptcy which delayed foreclosure action approved in second Chapter 12 bankruptcy; court held confirmation of reorganization plan in third filing likely futile; debtor failed to present evidence of change of circumstances suggesting debtor could reorganize and successfully emerge from bankruptcy; court dismissed Chapter 11 case and vacated automatic stay on farmland and granted in rem relief to creditors to conduct foreclosure sale; court further held that farm would not be included in any voluntary or involuntary future bankruptcy estates).


(350,000 workers left the laborforce in November of 2012 and overall employment was down 122,000 for November; the report (first post-election report) also substantially revised downward the October and September (pre-election) numbers where it estimated that 45,000 fewer jobs were created than originally reported; decline in laborforce resulted in laborforce participation rate falling to 63.6 percent and was sole reason why unemployment rate fell to 7.7 percent; number of average work hours remained flat at 34.4; number of small businesses hiring rather than firing dropped to lowest level since late 2008). 


(plaintiff’s grandparents established trust naming his uncle and mother as beneficiaries; plaintiff’s mother died in 1992 when he was eight years old, but plaintiff was not made aware of trust until his grandmother’s death in 2008; plaintiff alleged, shortly after mother’s death, that trustee sold farmland in trust and used proceeds to benefit trustee rather than plaintiff; trial court ruled that all claims, except a constructive fraud claim were time-barred and on appeal the parties agree this is correct, so court left only with determining whether constructive fraud claim was well-plead; trial court held that constructive fraud claim not adequately pled and dismissed claim; court of appeals affirmed; plaintiff sought further review; supreme court held trust established was not discretionary trust as determined by trial court, but support trust for the health, education, care, or maintenance of the plaintiff’s mother and uncle, so uncle as trustee did not have discretion to pay income or invade the principal for any benefit to himself;  court also held confidential relationship existed between trustee and plaintiff  and trustee could not appropriate assets for his own use, which constituted a breach of trust worthy of constructive fraud claim sufficiently pled; court also held facts pled established claim brought within 2 years of discovering alleged fraud and 10 year statute of repose does not apply to fraud claims; case remanded for resolution of constructive fraud claim).


(plaintiff owned land zoned agricultural and claimed that 2009 amendment to county zoning ordinance making it easier for wind energy development companies to build wind farms on adjacent land constituted a taking of her property rights on the basis that wind farm development would deprive her property of "full extent of kinetic energy of the wind and air as it enters the property subjecting it to shadow flicker and reduction of light, severe noise, possible ice throw and blade throws, interference with radar, cell phone, GPS, television, and other wireless communications, increased likelihood of lightening damage and stray voltage, increased electromagnetic radiation, prevention, prevention of crop dusting, drying out her land, and killing raptors"; trial court dismissed case; appellate court affirmed on basis that plaintiff's claim properly characterized as nuisance claim; no constitutional rights violated; ordinance simply modest legislative encouragement of wind farming and is within constitutional authority of county). 


(defendant built earthen berm for use as shooting range in 1962 at time when no county zoning rules or state laws governed shooting ranges; range expanded over years, the last time in 2006; in 2008, defendant received permission to continue operation of range; plaintiffs moved to adjacent properties in 1995 and 2006 and brought nuisance action for noise from range; trial court granted summary judgment for defendant; on appeal, court noted that IN Code Sec. 14-22-31.5-6 provided safe harbor for owners and operators of shooting ranges against noise pollution claims, but that provision inapplicable because shooting range not subject to any state or local requirements at time of creation; question of fact created as to whether defendant's operation of shooting range substantially interfered with plaintiffs' use and enjoyment of their property (characterized by the court as inconvenience, annoyance or discomfort; trial court's award of summary judgment for defendant reversed). 


(plaintiff, who was an employee of the stable but not working that day, was injured by horse when she came to the aid of her employer who was unloading horse at time it was spooked; employee sued her employer for his negligence in unloading the horse; employer argued he was immune from liability under state’s equine-activities-immunity statute; court held plaintiff was spectator at time of injury and was therefore an “equine activity participant”, so statute barred recovery; plaintiff appealed and appeals court reversed; employer sought further review by state supreme court; key issue on appeal was whether plaintiff was spectator under broad language of statute during unloading of horse; court held that under statute, person must deliberately put himself in position of exposure to inherent risk of proximity to animals and sees such an activity as a spectator; court held plaintiff voluntarily placed herself in a location where equine activities were occurring and saw the unloading of the horse, so her claim is barred; dissent filed arguing statute is unconstitutional because it removes an individual’s right to legal redress).


(buy-sell agreement entered into before Oct. 8, 1990, not subject to valuation restrictions of I.R.C. Sec. 2703; such agreements not subject to I.R.C. Sec. 2703 if not substantially modified after Oct. 8, 1990; here, agreement modified to extend repayment term and IRS viewed extension as merely de minimis change to quality, timing or value of rights of parties to agreement because agreement required reasonable interest rate to be paid; agreement also modified  to specify that "prime rate" is rate to be adjusted semiannually, and this was also not substantial modification because resulting payments would more closely approximate fair market value; requirements of Treas. Reg. Sec. 20.2031-2(h) must still be satisfied to control valuation issues at death).


(lawnmower sales to farmers did not qualify for exemption from state sales and use tax because they would not be used in the direct production of agricultural commodities; lawnmowers at issue were to be used for grounds keeping and maintenance of pathways, cutting brush to install fence lines and mowing). 


(petitioners, married couple, filed separate returns for separate principal residences on same tax lot with each claiming an $8,000 first-time homebuyer tax credit; however, new homes purchased within three years of selling prior principal residence; petitioners' claim that Turbo Tax software allowed the credit, but no evidence presented that result from Turbo Tax instructional error or error in programming; use of Turbo Tax not defense to accuracy-related penalty; court noted, however, that "We leave for another day whether reliance on tax preparation software such as Turbo Tax is sufficient to avoid the accuracy-related penalty where the taxpayer has provided evidence demonstrating a programming flaw or an instructional error").


(buy-sell agreement entered into before Oct. 8, 1990, not subject to valuation restrictions of I.R.C. Sec. 2703; such agreements not subject to I.R.C. Sec. 2703 if not substantially modified after Oct. 8, 1990; here, agreement modified to extend repayment term and IRS viewed extension as merely de minimis change to quality, timing or value of rights of parties to agreement because agreement required reasonable interest rate to be paid; agreement also modified  to specify that "prime rate" is rate to be adjusted semiannually, and this was also not substantial modification because resulting payments would more closely approximate fair market value; requirements of Treas. Reg. Sec. 20.2031-2(h) must still be satisfied to control valuation issues at death). 


(court denied confirmation of Chapter 11 plan; court held debtor’s plan unfeasible as plan calls for payments of $90,000 per month by partnership leasing equipment which is majority of debtor’s projected monthly income, but debtor has no written contract with partnership and previous payments were only 60% of current projected amount; further partners in partnership were also in bankruptcy proceedings, so continued funding of partnership seemed unlikely; court also held plan was not fair and equitable to creditor; equipment securing debt was sold or transferred without creditor’s consent, additional equipment was missing, and plan failed to properly account for depreciation of equipment value; court held debtor’s plan failed to satisfy requirements of § 1129; debtor entitled to file amended plan).


(appeal of trial court decision in contract dispute; plaintiff had contract with defendant to sell grass seed to defendant; defendant breached contract; plaintiff stored excess seed for several years but finally sold some seed overage; appellate court agreed trial court erred in not awarding damages to plaintiff under UCC, which would have been difference between contract price and market price on date of breach; trial court also erred in failing to award attorney fees based on lack of pleading because the request was properly plead; appellate court held that choice of law required reviewing contract under Oregon law because contract silent; court held whether contract language provided for attorney fees under recovery of “charges for collection” was ambiguous and remanded case to trial court to determine meaning).


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