Annotations 04/2013

(petitioner had alternative medicine practice and established trusts purportedly in furtherance of medical practice and asset protection; petitioner's corporation made payments to trusts and claimed deductions for such payments; deductions denied on basis that trusts where shams; trusts lacked independent trustee, taxpayer's relationship to trust property not materially changed after property transferred to trusts, no economic interest in trusts passed to other beneficiaries (except for minor instance), no meaningful restrictions imposed on petitioner, and trusts paid petitioner's personal expenses; trusts disregarded as shams for tax purposes). 


(petitioner cared for twin son of petitioner's half-brother as one of several persons that provided support for child, but did not substantiate amount of support; court determined that child not qualifying relative of petitioner (or anyone else) because petitioner could not establish provision of more than one-half of child's support; petitioner entitled, however, to dependency deduction because child qualifying child under I.R.C. Sec. 152(a)(1) by virtue of meeting tests contained in I.R.C. Sec. 152(c)(1)(B); on this point, court noted that IRS conceded that child met relationship test, satisfied age requirement and did not provide over one-half of own support; on issue of whether child shared same abode as petitioner, court noted that petitioner had stated on multiple occasions that child lived with petitioner for more than one-half of tax year, and discounted IRS arguments to the contrary). 


(state (IN) granted permits to defendant, a fuel-grade ethanol production facility; permits did not classify defendant as "chemical process plant" (as defendant had been classified in past) that would be limited to emission of 100 tons of certain air pollutants per year; lack of such classification would circumvent federal air pollution restrictions by allowing emission of up to 250 tons of certain air pollutants annually; issue is whether state could exclude fuel-grade ethanol production plants from category of "chemical process plants" without EPA approval of modification to IN state implementation plan (SIP); under Clean Air Act, air quality in certain areas cannot significantly deteriorate and SIP applies in such areas; defendant located in such area and is a "major emitting facilty" under CAA; while state law had been modified to provide that ethanol plants were not "chemical process plants," the IN SIP through which the state implements the CAA was not modified; any modification to the IN SIP requires EPA approval; case points out irony of ethanol industry seeking special exemptions from federal air pollution rules while it claims to benefit air quality). 


(petitioner had alternative medicine practice and established trusts purportedly in furtherance of medical practice and asset protection; petitioner's corporation made payments to trusts and claimed deductions for such payments; deductions denied on basis that trusts where shams; trusts lacked independent trustee, taxpayer's relationship to trust property not materially changed after property transferred to trusts, no economic interest in trusts passed to other beneficiaries (except for minor instance), no meaningful restrictions imposed on petitioner, and trusts paid petitioner's personal expenses; trusts disregarded as shams for tax purposes). 


(defendant expanded existing dairy farm operation from 100-cow dairy to 760-cow dairy by building new milking parlor and freestall barn on tract adjacent to farmstead where plaintiff's family have farmed since early 1800s; plaintiff, neighbor, sued for nuisance; defendant asserted state (IN) right-to-farm statute as defense; court determined that right-to-farm statute barred suit; court determined that expansion of farm does not result necessarily result in loss of statutory protection; expanded farm remained covered under same CAFO permit as original farm; conversion of crop field to dairy facility protected by right-to-farm statute (simply one form of agriculture to another); right-to-farm act applicable to one farmer suing another farmer for nuisance if claim involves odor and loss of property value). 


(petitioner had alternative medicine practice and established trusts purportedly in furtherance of medical practice and asset protection; petitioner's corporation made payments to trusts and claimed deductions for such payments; deductions denied on basis that trusts where shams; trusts lacked independent trustee, taxpayer's relationship to trust property not materially changed after property transferred to trusts, no economic interest in trusts passed to other beneficiaries (except for minor instance), no meaningful restrictions imposed on petitioner, and trusts paid petitioner's personal expenses; trusts disregarded as shams for tax purposes).


(state (IN) granted permits to defendant, a fuel-grade ethanol production facility; permits did not classify defendant as "chemical process plant" (as defendant had been classified in past) that would be limited to emission of 100 tons of certain air pollutants per year; lack of such classification would circumvent federal air pollution restrictions by allowing emission of up to 250 tons of certain air pollutants annually; issue is whether state could exclude fuel-grade ethanol production plants from category of "chemical process plants" without EPA approval of modification to IN state implementation plan (SIP); under Clean Air Act, air quality in certain areas cannot significantly deteriorate and SIP applies in such areas; defendant located in such area and is a "major emitting facilty" under CAA; while state law had been modified to provide that ethanol plants were not "chemical process plants," the IN SIP through which the state implements the CAA was not modified; any modification to the IN SIP requires EPA approval; case points out irony of ethanol industry seeking special exemptions from federal air pollution rules while it claims to benefit air quality).


(transitional relief provided with respect to certain fuel tax credits; taxpayers granted until July 1, 2013, to file refund claims in situations where claimed credits exceed tax liability; claim is timely filed if claim relates to credit under I.R.C. Sec. 6426 or payment under I.R.C. 6427, claim is filed on Form 8849, and claimant has or will not make the claim on any other form or at any other time except for a claim that has been previously rejected by IRS due to untimeliness or was repaid by claimant on amended tax return).


(petitioner bought Mercedes in 2001 and wrecked it in 2007; petitioner received $15,376 in insurance proceeds for total loss of car; petitioner claimed casualty loss deduction but did not establish basis in car at time of damage or car's FMV; IRS presumed adjusted basis was zero - precluding any casualty loss deduction). 


(Chapter 12 case in which debtor motioned to hold bank in contempt for violating automatic stay in attempting to foreclose on property; bank argued that because title to property vested in debtors upon plan confirmation, no stay was in effect; under 11 U.S.C. Sec. 362, stay terminates when discharge is granted or denied; in Chapter 12 case, however, debtor does not receive discharge until all payments under plan have been completed rather than when plan confirmed (as is case in Chapter 11); debtor had not received discharge because all plan payments not completed;  automatic stay remained in effect and bank's filing of foreclosure violated automatic stay). 


(two trusts each owned an interest in an S corporation with the balance of the interests in the S corporation owned by taxpayer; S corporation owned another corporation which was a qualified S subsidiary which the individual was the president and was directly involved in daily operations; trusts had income from their interests in the S corporation; individual, spouse, children and grandchildren are beneficiaries of trusts and taxpayer was special trustee of trusts and controlled all decisions regarding disposition of S corporation stock and voting of that stock; taxpayer not able to distinguish between time spent conducting business as corporate president and time spent as special trustee; IRS took position that trusts did not materially participate in S corporation business and, as a result, trusts' share of research or experimental expenses incurred by the S corporation had to be amortized over 10 years by the trusts; IRS claimed that only participation of trustee of trusts in fiduciary capacity counts toward material participation test; IRS ignored interrelated role of taxpayer as special trustee and corporate president for purposes of material participation test; Treasury has never promulgated regulations for trusts for purposes of the material participation test and has lost the only court decision addressing how a trust establishes material participation for purposes of I.R.C. Sec. 469; litigation on issue currently pending in the U.S. Tax Court).


(appeal of bench trial verdict in favor of defendant city; plaintiff brought suit against city claiming a takings under state Constitution after blocked drainage pipes caused damage to plaintiff’s soybean crop; trial court held plaintiff did not prove intention of city to cause harm as required for claim; appellate court agreed evidence did not conclusively establish city knew blocking drain would cause identifiable harm or that harm was substantially certain; judgment affirmed). 


(appeal of bench trial verdict in favor of defendant city; plaintiff brought suit against city claiming a takings under state Constitution after blocked drainage pipes caused damage to plaintiff’s soybean crop; trial court held plaintiff did not prove intention of city to cause harm as required for claim; appellate court agreed evidence did not conclusively establish city knew blocking drain would cause identifiable harm or that harm was substantially certain; judgment affirmed). 


(dispute regarding meaning of irrigation and access agreement drafted by predecessors-in-interest of adjoining landowners; court held agreement created express easement rather than mere license; court also held easement was appurtenant based on state preference for holding easements appurtenant when dominant estate identified unless specific language clearly demonstrates contrary intent).


(petitioners, married couple, participated in trust arrangement known as "multiple-employer welfare-benefit fund - a non-qualified employee-benefit plan that would allow petitioners to obtain life insurance on tax deductible basis; plan adopted in 2001 and trust funded with multi-million dollar life insurance policies and petitioners paid the initial premiums; petitioners were advised that if plan was allowed to terminate, they would be taxed on net cash surrender value of policies; policies had large death benefits, had surrender charges that exceeded their stated values (e.g., no cash received on surrender) and petitioner's wife allowed her policy to lapse; IRS had designated such plans as "listed transactions" in 2000 and issued regulations in 2002 further attacking them; plan's administrator terminated plan in 2003 and life insurance policies distributed to petitioners at time when flexible-premiums policies were not paid up; petitioners did not include stated policy values ($48,667 for husband and $32,576 for wife) in income; IRS asserted deficiency in accordance with Treas. Reg. Sec. 1.402(b)-1(c) and I.R.C. Sec. 402(b) that the full amount of $81,243 (stated policy values combined) should have been reported into income; issue before court was proper valuation of the two variable life insurance policies; court concluded that values to be based on guaranteed cost of insurance to time of termination of first policy and until second policy's premium paid; deficiency ultimately less than $5,000; on appeal court affirmed; court noted that I.R.C. §§ 419 and 419A limit employer's deductions for contributions to such plans to amount based on cost of benefits provided during year plus additional amount for reserves, and that under I.R.C. Sec. 402(b)(2) amount actually distributed or made available to distributee is taxed to distributee in tax year of distribution or year made available; "amount actually distributed" under I.R.C. Sec. 402(b)(2) means FMV of actual distribution - surrender charges must be considered when determined policy's FMV; total deficiency attributable to both policies was $2,665.95 - the amount "actually distributed" under I.R.C. Sec. 402(b) and includible under I.R.C. Sec. 72). 


(world-class equine facility with proprietary construction plans appeals real property market improvement value of property; two assessments done of property; one used sales approach and both used cost approach; appraisals differed in square footage and price per square foot for each type of improvement; argument is that property has no real market value as personal residence and world class equine facility and should be assessed using cost approach; court held no immediate market for property designed to plaintiff’s exact specifications, so cost approach should be used, but insufficient evidence presented to reconcile appraisers’ differences (one appraisal showed a value of $14,591,127 and the other $18,275,412) to determine property’s real market value, so plaintiff’s appeal denied).


(defendant withdrew coal mining disposal site specifications received pursuant to discharge and fill permits received in accordance with 33 U.S.C. Sec. 1344 which effectively barred plaintiff from discharging into site; trial court granted summary judgment on basis that defendant did not have statutory authority to retroactively disapprove dredge and fill permits issued by U.S. Army Corps of Engineers under Sec. 404 of CWA; on appeal, court held that the Congress, in using the conjunction "whenever" in U.S.C. Sec. 1344(c), intended to grant EPA authority to do anything it wanted to with a specification at any time including broad veto power that extended beyond the issuance of the permit; defendant's authority exists independently of Corps). 


(district court had held that inherited IRA funds exempt from debtor’s bankruptcy estate under 11 U.S.C. Sec. 522(b)(3)(C) because they are “retirement funds” that are tax-exempt under I.R.C. §408; decedent died about a year after establishing account which named daughter as beneficiary; daughter had own IRA and had balance of decedent’s IRA rolled into hers and then took monthly distributions from it before retiring; over nine years later daughter and husband filed Chapter 7; bankruptcy court (450 B.R. 858 (Bankr. W.D. Wis. 2011)) ruled IRA not exempt on basis that inherited IRA funds were not "retirement funds" in the hands of the debtor and, therefore, not exempt; on review, district court (466 B.R. 135 (W.D. Wis. 2012)) determined that IRA account funds need not be “retirement” funds of the debtor to qualify for exemption; district court followed majority view that direct transfers of retirement funds from tax-exempt account qualify for exemption, and immaterial that there are differences between traditional IRAs and inherited IRAs due to I.R.C. §408(e)(1); question of whether inherited IRA should be exempt up to the Congress to change the statute; on further review, circuit court reversed on basis that inherited IRAs represent opportunity for current consumption in hands of debtor and are not a fund of retirement savings; court analogized situation to that of debtor inheriting home - home only exempt if debtor lived in it, and is not exempt merely based on how prior owner used the property; court's opinion contrary to Fifth Circuit in In re Chilton, 674 F.3d 486 (5th Cir. 2012)). 


(cross motions for summary judgment in declaratory and injunctive action regarding failure of FDA to promulgate final regulations by mandatory deadlines contained in Food Safety and Modernization Act of 2010 ("FSMA"); court held because FMSA includes specific deadlines, FDA admittedly failed to comply with mandatory rulemaking schedule, a failure to comply with deadlines constitutes a "failure to act" under Administrative Procedure Act and where Congress has specifically provided a deadline for performance by an agency, "no balancing of factors is required or permitted", so declaratory relief is proper; in order to ensure the issuance of regulations that have been sufficiently considered and  magnitude of task, court ordered parties to prepare joint written statement by mid-May setting forth proposed deadlines in detail sufficient to form basis of injunction; plaintiff’s motion granted).


(environmentalist groups sued U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (COE) claiming that COE violated Clean Water Act (CWA), National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and Administrative Procedure Act (APA) when COE issued two nationwide coal-mining waste-discharge permits in 2007 allowing coal companies to fill sections of streams with rock from blasting projects used to uncover coal seams; trial court granted summary judgment to COE; on appeal, court reversed on basis that COE permit issuance arbitrary and capricious because COE did not properly consider impact of past surface mining in approving permits and did not support its finding that coal companies could mitigate stream issues by paying for projects elsewhere; court determined that COE only considered potential effect of mining from 2007-2012 and didn't account for streams filled before 2007; court's opinion largely mute insomuch as COE had already changed permitting process at issue; court's decision stayed for 60 days to allow federal district court in Kentucky to determine impact of decision on existing projects). 


(defendant, issued order that plaintiff obtain NPDES permit for stormwater discharges from plaintiff's poultry CAFO operation; defendant claimed that regulable discharge occurs when dust, feathers and dander which are released through ventilation fans are contacted by precipitation; defendant claimed that such discharges were not within the exemption for "agricultural stormwater discharges" because such exemption inapplicable to CAFOs other than for "land application areas" where crops grown; plaintiff threatened with fines of $37,500 for each occurrence and separate fines of $37,500 per day for failure to apply for NPDES permit; in response to plaintiff's lawsuit challenging defendant's position, defendant withdrew its order and motioned to dismiss case; court refused to dismiss case on basis that defendant had not changed its regulatory position against other farmers, noting that proceeding on the merits would benefit all parties by clarifying extent of CWA discharge permit liability and whether NPDES permit required for ordinary precipitation from typical farmyard; various environmental activist groups also allowed to intervene on defendant's behalf). 


(plaintiff, endangered species protectionist group and other environmental groups, sued to impose restrictions and bans on 382 registered pesticides they claimed were harmful to more than 200 endangered and threatened species in 49 states and Puerto Rico; plaintiff alleged that defendant violated Sec. 7(a)(2) Endangered Species Act for its failure to consult with U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and National Marine Fisheries Service over potential effects of subject pesticides; plaintiff also sought order requiring defendant to consult with respect to all pesticides where there could possibly be an impact on an endangered species; court granted defendant's motion to dismiss, but dismissal was with leave to amend complaint within 30 days). 


(environmentalist groups sued U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (COE) claiming that COE violated Clean Water Act (CWA), National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and Administrative Procedure Act (APA) when COE issued two nationwide coal-mining waste-discharge permits in 2007 allowing coal companies to fill sections of streams with rock from blasting projects used to uncover coal seams; trial court granted summary judgment to COE; on appeal, court reversed on basis that COE permit issuance arbitrary and capricious because COE did not properly consider impact of past surface mining in approving permits and did not support its finding that coal companies could mitigate stream issues by paying for projects elsewhere; court determined that COE only considered potential effect of mining from 2007-2012 and didn't account for streams filled before 2007; court's opinion largely mute insomuch as COE had already changed permitting process at issue; court's decision stayed for 60 days to allow federal district court in Kentucky to determine impact of decision on existing projects). 


(taxpayer is 50 percent partner in LLC, and LLC executed loan modification agreement with bank resulting in debt cancellation income to taxpayer which wasn't reported on Form 1065 or Schedule K-1; taxpayer's Form 1040 prepared by different preparer unaware of taxpayer's debt discharge income and, as result, no election made under I.R.C. Sec. 108(c)(3)(C) and Treas. Reg. Sec. 1.108-5(b) to reduce basis of depreciable property and exclude debt discharge from qualified real property business debt; request for extension of time to make election granted; 45-day extension granted). 


(children brought action against their mother to recover items stored in her garage; mother counter-claimed to set aside deed executed in favor of children; at trial mother testified and argument made without objection that deed was coerced through undue influence of mother’s husband prior to his death; husband refused to let mother ask questions regarding deed and had been violent, so mother signed to avoid an argument; after trial court held deed was result of undue influence; court also limited items in garage to be returned to children based on testimony of grandson regarding which items actually belonged to children; both holdings affirmed on appeal because substantial evidence in record supported findings).


(decedent's will, executed pre-Sept. 25, 1985, providing for decedent's property to pass to surviving spouse, children and grandchildren and charity; decedent later declared incompetent until death; beneficiaries battled over will interpretation and petitioner court for construction and reformation of will; parties enter into court-approved settlement specifying that amounts distributed pursuant to settlement not subject to GSTT and estate entitled to charitable deduction for amount passing to charity; IRS determined that no GSTT applied because of decedent's mental incompetency (Treas. Reg. Sec. 26.2601-1(b)(3)(i); charitable deduction allowed for amount passing to charity in accordance with Rev. Rul. 89-31, 1989-1 C.B. 277). 


(appeal of summary judgment in favor of Army Corps finding issuance of permit under Clean Water Act for 960-acre fishing lake not arbitrary and capricious; court rejected plaintiffs’ arguments for arbitrariness including failing to independently evaluate studies, failing to fully explain need for lake when contradictory evidence existed, accounting for out of state fishing licenses, and reducing unmet demand by twenty percent; court also rejected plaintiffs’ allegations that Army Corps did not sufficiently account for impact on wetlands beyond those identified by Corps; district court judgment affirmed).


(appeal of summary judgment in favor of Army Corps finding issuance of permit under Clean Water Act for 960-acre fishing lake not arbitrary and capricious; court rejected plaintiffs’ arguments for arbitrariness including failing to independently evaluate studies, failing to fully explain need for lake when contradictory evidence existed, accounting for out of state fishing licenses, and reducing unmet demand by twenty percent; court also rejected plaintiffs’ allegations that Army Corps did not sufficiently account for impact on wetlands beyond those identified by Corps; district court judgment affirmed).


(petitioner claimed I.R.C. Sec. 23(a) credit for qualified adoption expenses but petitioner did not file joint return with spouse for tax year in which credit claimed (as required by Sec. 23); IRS denied credit and petitioner claimed denial of credit violated petitioner's equal protection rights under Constitution; court disagreed with petitioner on basis that law clear and reasonable basis existed for requiring joint return to claim credit). 


(defendant issued site certificate in 2009 for wind "farm" to be located on private land in Umatilla County, with construction to begin within three years and completion of project three years later; in 2011, defendant issued amended site certificate approving facility expansion; in early 2012, wind farm project operator applied for site certificate amendment extending construction start and completion dates for another two years; a few days later, Umatilla County adopted ordinance establishing two-mile setback between aerogenerators and rural residences; plaintiff sought compliance of wind farm with 2012 ordinance, but defendant approved second site amendment without requiring compliance with 2012 ordinance; upon review, Court affirmed; state law requires compliance with local ordinances and state law at time application is executed; while provision does not include land use regulations that are public safety measures, ordinance did not establish noise standard and purpose was not conclusive to establish public health and safety measure; thus, provision is land use regulation and version in effect at time wind farm made application applies). 


(plaintiff was driving ATV on public trail when she lost control and crashed suffering spinal cord injuries and paralysis; plaintiff sued defendant on basis that state (MI) had contracted with defendant to grade and maintain trail and defendant negligently failed to properly maintain trail; defendant moved for summary disposition on basis that trail covered under recreational use act which limited liability to gross negligence; trial court granted defendant's motion; on appeal, court reversed on basis that state recreational use statute applied to "owner, tenant or lessee of land" and court would only enforce the law as written and not give statute a "judicial gloss designed to promote what the court believes to be the Legislature's policy goal in enacting the statute"; defendant entered into "grant agreement" with state DNR to improve trail, but no ownership interest transferred; defendant not an "owner, tenant, or lessee" of land on which plaintiff injured and statute inapplicable).


(defendant issued site certificate in 2009 for wind "farm" to be located on private land in Umatilla County, with construction to begin within three years and completion of project three years later; in 2011, defendant issued amended site certificate approving facility expansion; in early 2012, wind farm project operator applied for site certificate amendment extending construction start and completion dates for another two years; a few days later, Umatilla County adopted ordinance establishing two-mile setback between aerogenerators and rural residences; plaintiff sought compliance of wind farm with 2012 ordinance, but defendant approved second site amendment without requiring compliance with 2012 ordinance; upon review, Court affirmed; state law requires compliance with local ordinances and state law at time application is executed; while provision does not include land use regulations that are public safety measures, ordinance did not establish noise standard and purpose was not conclusive to establish public health and safety measure; thus, provision is land use regulation and version in effect at time wind farm made application applies).  


(petitioner got divorced and decree required him to pay $1,000 monthly spousal support; three years later ex-wife fell on financial hard times and sought increased support; petitioner increased support by $1,300 and sought alimony deduction without any modification of divorce decree; ex-wife did provide letter explaining situation a year later; under I.R.C. Sec. 71(b)(1), payment must be received by or on behalf of spouse under divorce or separation instrument; court determined that letters did not demonstrate "meeting of minds" between former spouses to constitute written separation agreement; no deduction allowed and ex-wife did not report increased amount as income).


(dispute regarding spray easement; defendants granted spray easement to plaintiffs; plaintiffs planted Bermuda grass in easement; several years later defendants notified plaintiffs that they would be removing Bermuda grass in easement and replace it with soybeans; plaintiff brought suit; defendants counter-claimed for fraud and negligent misrepresentation; trial court granted summary judgment to plaintiff on defendants’ claims; on appeal, court affirmed dismissal of fraud claim because lack of expansion necessitating large area for easement caused by statutory moratorium rather than plaintiffs’ actions; this fact also permitted dismissal of negligent misrepresentation claim as well; court also affirmed in dismissing request to void easement for lack of meeting of the minds in contract formation because contract allowed for necessary actions in easement to comply with state regulations, which required Bermuda grass be grown for compliance; appellate court also affirmed court’s holding that defendants entitled to hay from grass grown on easement because plaintiffs’ purpose of easement was merely elimination of hog waste).


(decedent and spouse married in Michigan in 1984, and moved to PA; in 2003, husband underwent gender reassignment to have female genitalia installed; husband's conduct destroyed marriage relationship with wife and wife taken back to MI in 2005 to live with daughter; children, as mother's guardian, filed for divorce on mother's behalf because she was suffering from dementia (age 79); husband filed motion for summary judgment on basis that children had no authority to file divorce on behalf of incapacitated ward; trial court disagreed and denied husband's motion; husband filed second motion for summary judgment on basis that trial court lacked jurisdiction to grant divorce because husband's conduct made him a "woman" which severed the marital relationship because of MI's constitutional and statutory ban on homosexual marriage; trial court denied husband's second motion; on appeal, court affirmed on both points; nothing in state statutory law or caselaw bars a guardian or conservator from filing complaint for divorce on behalf of incompetent spouse; parties entered into lawful marriage contract at time of marriage that they cannot mutually or unilaterally sever; marriage is more than a civil contract and only a court can terminate the relationship by decree of divorce; in any event, court noted that gender reassignment surgery has no effect in changing gender of person involved because chromosome makeup when person created not impacted and can never be altered). 


(debtor was real estate "flipper" that entered into option contract that gave debtor right to buy property from another party; mortgage on property was facing foreclosure; parties also signed short sale agreement under which debtor was to use reasonable efforts to negotiate short sale with holder of mortgage from which debtor would profit, otherwise property would proceed to foreclosure; mortgage released for $130,000; post-petition, debtor entered into sales contract to sell property for $179,000; debtor then exercised  option and bought property for $130,000 and then sold it  and received $30,839.13 in cash at closing; trustee sought proceeds of sale and bankruptcy court granted trustee's motion for summary judgment on grounds that sales proceeds were property of debtor's bankruptcy estate; district court affirmed, and appellate court also affirmed). 


(petitioner not entitled to deduction for reasonable and necessary travel expenses (e.g., meals, lodging) while allegedly away from home in pursuit of petitioner's trade or business; tax home determined to be Los Angeles rather than Georgia on basis that petitioner's wife employed in Los Angeles and petitioner's employment indefinite rather than temporary, and petitioner attending college in Los Angeles during applicable timeframe). 


(plaintiff, non-profit corporation that promotes research and development of wheat varieties was granted license to sell certain protected varieties of wheat seed; defendant is a seed conditioner that plaintiff claims conditioned protected seed without plaintiff's authorization; issue was adequacy of plaintiff's pleading; court determined that defendant's motion to dismiss should be denied; even though plaintiff's pleading "not a model of clarity, organization or even proof reading,..." the amended complaint passes muster). 


(bill eliminates online personal financial disclosure requirements imposed on certain federal government employees by removing mandatory electronic filing by the President and cabinet officials, and elimination of publicly accessible database; provisions eliminated were required by the "Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge Act of 2012" signed into law on Apr. 4, 2012 as Pub. L. No. 112-105; provisions of 2012 law prohibiting insider trading by Congressional members not removed; financial disclosure requirements will continue to be made on paper and can be available as PDF files). 


(competing summary judgment motions regarding confirmation of arbitration award; controversy arose from crop insurance for nursery; after claim made, insurance company determined plaintiff did not satisfy requirements for federal crop insurance; company canceled policies and returned premiums; arbitrator held others had risk and interest in crop, but determined award should be equal to plaintiff’s risk, which was his salary and made an award for the same; plaintiff appealed seeking vacatur of the award and additional damages; court confirmed award holding no evidence arbitrator exceeded his powers or interpreted the policy in a way that stepped beyond his scope of authority).


(case involves taxpayer’s appeal of assessment of taxes on personal property used in pumpkin patch; taxpayer argued boats, trains, and wheelbarrows used by visitors to harvest pumpkins should be exempt as "farm property"; court disagreed that items used by paying patrons of farm were farm equipment; court held such items were used to sell entertainment to patrons; county provided valuation of items and taxpayer did not, so court adopted county’s valuation; court declined to assess penalties because taxpayer’s arguments were objectively reasonable and not brought to delay or frustrate collection).


(plaintiff (recently purchased by CenturyLink) challenged on equal protection grounds the constitutionality of Iowa Code §§ 476.95-.101 that imposes taxes on equipment of traditional telephone companies, but imposes tax only a portion of some equipment of long-distance providers and practically no equipment of wireless providers; Court upheld statute on basis that plaintiff continued to maintain "monopoly power" and, as such, it was rational for legislature to conclude that taxing plaintiff's personal property was "an appropriate way to capture some of their monopoly rent" while "relieving potential developers of competing infrastructure from a similar burden"). 


(court affirms Court of Tax Appeals decision granting exemption from ad valorem taxation petitioners wireline equipment on basis that such equipment was personal property under Kan. Stat. Ann. Sec. 79-223(b) because it satisfied definition of "commercial and industrial machinery" contained in Article XI, Sec. 1(a) of the Kansas Constitution). 


(defendant convicted of first degree murder in his father’s death arising from crushing father's head by hydraulic truck bed in battle concerning control over family farm and funds in family trust; defendant claims error entered in trial; prosecutor’s use of "Wheel of Fortune" analogy in discussing reasonable doubt scuffed the line of misconduct but did not cross it and was not improper misstatement of law; requested jury instruction on reasonable doubt expanded from model instruction not legally appropriate; jury instruction informing jury that their job was limited to choosing guilty or innocent not improper; verdict affirmed).


(plaintiff filed motion for attorney fees to enforce its arbitration award arising from a breach of grain contracts; defendant argued that attorney fees were subject to arbitration and that its inability to pay the judgment was justified because it could not pay the award; court held failure to present evidence of inability to pay was no legal justification for failing to pay and granted motion for attorney fees and costs in favor of  plaintiff).


(taxpayer established trust for supporting religious organizations and then converted trust to private foundation; trust acquired ranch property in furtherance of charitable purposes - a retreat property and associated programs for clergy including free room and board; ranch also raised sheep and sheep studies on ranch made available for students in journals with purpose of improving U.S. sheep production; trust sold sheep to farmers and slaughterhouses; significant losses realized; IRS determined that trust not subject to I.R.C. Sec. 4942(a) penalty of 30 percent on undistributed income because ranch property held for use directly in carrying out trust's exempt purpose).


(debtor's Chapter 11 plan for farming operation denied confirmation and debtor given 30 days to file modified plan; plan failed to specify name of any creditor and class to which creditor assigned, did not provide any treatment for some claims, did not provide any treatment for current crop production loan, contained contradictory description of treatment for certain secured claim, provided reorganization plan that was impossible to perform, plan was not proposed in good faith and does not propose to actually pay the Class VII debtors anything).


(petitioner operated landfill adjacent to city landfill; neighboring landowners complained about dust and odors; petitioner and city landfill reached court settlement and negotiated a deal resulting in the closing of the city landfill via a bargain-sale transaction; bargain-sale involved transfer of dirt to city worth $1 million for which city paid slightly over $700,000; city issued Form 8283 to petitioner along with appraisal which was attached to petitioner's return on which charitable contribution claimed; IRS denied charitable deduction due to receipt of significant cash and non-cash consideration in exchange for fill-dirt and for lack of proof that value of fill exceeded value of consideration received; IRS also argued the petitioner didn't receive contemporaneous written acknowledgement (2003 settlement agreement was not contemporaneous written acknowledgment and Form 8283 did not suffice as contemporaneous written acknowledgment because city completed only Part IV of Form 8283 which does not contain statement as to whether any goods or services provided in exchange; court determined that 2003 court settlement agreement only amount of cash city agreed to pay for fill-dirt and did not denote value that petitioner received and Form 8283 insufficient to substantiate deduction for failure to make mention of any benefits petitioner received; accordingly, requirements of I.R.C. Sec. 170(f)(8)(B) not satisfied and deduction denied; Tax Court also questioned appraisal). 


(land dispute between parties regarding whether appurtenant easement existed from language in deed of land conveyed in 1940s; question concerned effect of easement language from previous deed; district court held language of easement was too vague to be enforceable; evidence showed parties never made use of any easement so intent shows lack of easement granted at that time; on appeal, appellate court agreed under state law that every conveyance of real estate passes the entire estate unless expressly stated otherwise; trial court affirmed no appurtenant easement in dispute land exists).


(case involves reasonableness of compensation paid to radio executive; over his career in radio and television, executive started to buy radio stations and would become owner/operator/general manager; management style was active involvement overseeing personnel, oversight of programming, negotiating with lenders, participating in sales meetings and communicating with lawyers, accountants and others on behalf of company; ultimately, executive gave himself substantial bonus and company claimed associated deduction; issue was reasonableness of compensation and court gets into detailed mathematical computational process of experts of the parties; court set reasonable compensation level at amount higher than what IRS sought due primarily to executive being compensated for underpayments that occurred in prior years; deduction approximately one-third of amount paid to executive; 20 percent accuracy-related penalty imposed).


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