Case Summaries

(discount for built-in-gains tax for S corporation stock was 17.4 percent (farmland and marketable securities were primary assets); discount for built-in-gains tax on stock in second corporation containing marketable securities was 23.6 percent).

(taxpayer not entitled to offset realized long-term capital gain by negative taxable income before offsetting such gains by long-term capital loss carryovers).

(IRS properly used annuity tables under I.R.C.§ 7520 to value stream of lottery payments remaining as of time of decedent's death).

(defendant held to be actual purchaser of livestock and is liable for the purchase price as a "dealer" under the Packers and Stockyards Act).

(title to disputed tract acquired by adverse possession; statutory elements satisfied).

(I.R.C. Sec. 162(k)(1) bars deduction allowed by I.R.C. Sec. 404(k)(1) for corporate dividends paid in cash with respect to the corporation's securities).

(post-petition taxes triggered on sale of corn eligible for non-priority treatment under BAPCPA provision because corn sold to debtor’s custom cattle feeding operation and not to third party buyer).

(plaintiff failed to prove that the parties owned adjacent properties, and that for a period in excess of 10 years, the parties mutually recognized, acknowledged and treated as the boundary, a line definitively marked by a fence or in some other manner).

(installment land contract did not create appurtenant easement for access and irrigation purposes; installment land contract not tantamount to conveyance and additional steps needed to create appurtenant easement).

(summary judgment properly granted to defendant, owner of century-old barn, for injuries sustained by plaintiff who fell through barn roof; while defendant classified as invitee, danger of roof collapsing was open and obvious danger).

(oil and gas lease containing implied covenant of exploration and development could not be cancelled for non-development without demand for compliance; neither abandonment nor forfeiture of lease present).

(defendants acquired title to one-acre tract via adverse possession; evidence showed that defendants mowed the tract, constructed gold fish ponds and water pumps and developed walking trails).

(denial of plaintiffs’ claim that 3/21 mineral interest was held in trust and should have been conveyed to them in 1950 by trustee instead of being passed down to defendants upheld on appeal; person through whom plaintiffs claimed title died before 1950 trust deed and defendants established clear chain of title to disputed 187.5 mineral acres).

(economic loss doctrine bars tort recovery for total loss of tractor which caught fire upon activation of tractor cab’s exterior lights).

(plaintiff consisted of milk producers who opposed USDA's regulatory changes to Mideast Milk Marketing Order involving "diversion limits"; plaintiff lacked standing to challenge regulatory changes because diversion limits only impacted conduct of handlers and plaintiff sued in capacity of producer).

(state Right-to-Farm law upheld as constitutional and defendant's dairy operation did not constitute a taking of plaintiff's property via creation of an easement to maintain a nuisance; Right-To-Farm law barred plaintiff's nuisance claim and plaintiff's failed to establish that dairy operated negligently).

(11 U.S.C. §1222(a)(2)(A) allows debtors to treat capital gain taxes as a general unsecured claim that is not entitled to priority, and the taxes entitled to non-priority treatment are to be calculated in accordance with the proportional method proposed by IRS).

(summary judgment granted for defendant in case involving individual who was attacked and injured by a cow allegedly owned by decedent; evidence insufficient to establish that defendant owned suspect cow).

(trial court decision ordering partition and sale of farmland upheld; evidence sufficient to support forced sale because land could not have been divided equally without impairing its value given the lack of uniformity in land quality, and sub-surface minerals not spread uniformly throughout the tract).

(EPA’s final rule providing that pesticides applied in accordance with FIFRA are exempt from the Clean Water Act’s permitting requirements held to be unreasonable interpretations of CWA because EPA exceeded its authority under CWA when it issued rule that excluded pesticides from definition of “pollutant”; plain language of “chemical waste” and “biological materials” was unambiguous as to pesticides; under CWA pesticide residue or excess pesticide was a pollutant discharged from a point source because the pollutant was introduced into a water from the outside world by the pesticide applicator from a point source).

(landfill operator sued defendant for expansion of landfill and landowner sued operator for injunctive relief barring expansion, nuisance and violation of defendant's Sunshine Law; nuisance claim time-barred and declaratory judgment claim barred; Sunshine Law claim dismissed).

(court affirms trial court decision denying plaintiffs' Fifth Amendment takings claim involving enactment and enforcement of Initiative 143; plaintiffs own and operate alternative livestock game farms at which persons pay large sums of money to shoot captive animals within the confines of a game farm; Initiative 143 barred the fee-based shooting of game animals or alternative livestock; no taking under Penn Central analysis because Initiative did not eliminate all uses of alternative livestock as plaintiffs could still harvest animals for meat or antlers, or sell them in out-of-state markets where fee shooting still legal). 

(plaintiff not entitled to personal injury damages received in automobile accident caused by swerving to avoid horses on public roadway; plaintiff failed to positively identify that horses on roadway were defendant's horses).

(contract construction case involving farming partnership business relations).  

(defendant improperly concluded that plaintiff's property did not qualify as current agricultural-use valuation status; property met the requirements because it consisted of more than 10 contiguous acres that satisfied regulatory standards; 19-year gap between timber harvests did not defeat the plaintiff's claim because the plaintiff met the standard of showing a discernible modicum of activity designed to further growth of timber for commercial purposes through activity establishing such purpose).

(summary judgment granted for defendants on claim that defendants violated plaintiff’s Fourth and Fourteenth Amendment rights as a result of an alleged illegal search of plaintiff’s farm and seizure of several animals; sufficient evidence present that animals living in “horrible” conditions and search warrant valid).

(post-petition taxes triggered by sale of real estate eligible for non-priority treatment under BAPCPA provision).

(Kentucky law barring out-of-state wineries from shipping their wine directly to customers held unconstitutional; opinion follows U.S. Supreme Court Granholm opinion).

(defendant’s importation of egg whites from Peru without first obtaining a pasteurization certificate from the Peruvian government and without obtaining authorization from the Food Safety Inspection Service violated the Egg Products Inspection Act, which could result in the condemnation and destruction of the egg whites; trial court’s granting of summary judgment upheld).

(plaintiff (farmer) filed Chapter 11 after U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) removed bridge that provided access to farmland that plaintiff leased from Indian Tribe; bankruptcy court found that regulatory taking had occurred and recommended award of over $1 million in damages; district court reversed on basis that plaintiff's claim not ripe for review; appellate court determined that plaintiff's claim was ripe, but that neither bankruptcy court nor district court could hear plaintiff's claim based on sovereign immunity - plaintiff's claim fell within jurisdiction of Tucker Act and Tucker Act's sovereign immunity waiver limited to suits filed in U.S. Court of Federal Claims; even though taking claim related to debtor's bankruptcy case, Tucker Act did not clearly express Government's consent to be sued in district court).

(creditor who imposes flat finance charge that does not vary with the term of a Refund Anticipation Loan need not refund a portion of the charge as "unearned interest" under 15 U.S.C. § 1615 when loan is repaid earlier than anticipated in the loan agreement; finance charge not an "interest" charge).

(court upholds defendant’s decision granting a special use permit for the operation of a facility to provide horse riding lessons and a twice annual competitive horseback endurance trail ride; location, scale and intensity of activities compatible with character and development of the area and surrounding properties).

(plaintiffs (Oregon miners) cannot prevail on their $22.5 million takings claim against the U.S. Forest Service because the government never ordered them to stop mining; government allegedly waited more than two years to tell the plaintiffs that their operation wouldn’t harm the northern spotted owl).

(refineries, ethanol distilleries and other industrial sites are not be exempt from normal emissions standards during startups, shutdowns and malfunctions).

(defendant, owner of fractional interest in an oil and gas lease, found liable for $5.8 million in unpaid fees incurred by the operator of the underwater oil and gas exploration operation, which paid operation costs up front for all fractional owners; operator did not affirmatively release defendant from obligations under the parties’ joint operating agreements before defendant assigned its rights to a third party).

(mother’s sale of farmland to a son for no consideration is a nullity and not a disguised donation, as is subsequent donation of land by son to a cousin).

(genuine issue of material fact existed regarding whether the parties established a partnership based upon either apparent authority of partnership by estoppel; trial court grant of summary judgment for defendant reversed).

(title to property acquired by adverse possession; plaintiffs exercised degree of use and control over subject parcel that was normal and customary, and demonstrated an intent to claim full ownership of tract superior to rights of all others, and plaintiff’s actions sufficient to give actual or constructive notice of intent for statutory period).

(sufficient evidence present to uphold defendant’s conviction on four counts of cruelty to animals; cows recklessly confined without supply of sufficient quantity of wholesome food and water and cause of death related to severe dehydration and emaciation).

(tuition and fees paid to Orthodox Jewish day schools not deductible).

(Cattle not point-source pollutants under CWA and such holding not inconsistent with SD Warren; non-point sources not included in definition of "discharge"; Oregon Natural Desert Association v. Dombeck, 151 F.3d 945 (9th Cir. 1998) controlling law on the issue).

(trial court’s denial of tenant’s request for issuance of permanent injunction that would restrain landowner from harvesting timber and conducting clearing operations on leased premises upheld; lease gave landlord retained right to use and develop premises for “other” purposes; tenant knew at time leased signed that future logging a possibility; and logging activity would actually enhance hunting value of property to tenant).

(plaintiff, surviving spouse of decedent who was killed in head- on collision with defendant’s farm implement on public road, appeals trial court’s denial of plaintiff’s motion for new trial; trial court’s determination upheld where evidence revealed that defendant did not violate state standard of care for moving farm implements on public roadways).

(plaintiff's tobacco crop damaged by rain and produced only 65% of estimated crop output production for the crop year, but plaintiff actually received 102% of expected income from tobacco crop when factoring in insurance proceeds received for damaged crop; plaintiff subsequently applied to FSA for crop damage payments (CDPs) and received another $80,000; summary judgment for government upheld where plaintiff had extensive knowledge in FSA farm program eligibility rules and should have known that $80,000 was erroneously paid).

(defendant charged with various criminal violations of state hunting laws based initially on discovery of game feeder and salt-block viewed by state game officials from airplane; defendant moved to suppress evidence based on Fourth Amendment; trial court's denial of defendant's motion upheld because "search" was merely an innocent observation of defendant's property and not a "search" as contemplated by the Fourth Amendment; defendant's posting of property insufficient to shield any and all observation of items not shielded or protected from view from places exterior to the property).

(conviction for unlawful merchandising practices arising from misrepresentations made in the course of selling cattle upheld; defendant told buyer that all of the cows the defendant was selling had raised at least one generation of calves while on defendant’s farm, but such statement did not match sale barn records showing that some cows had been recently acquired).  

(debtors had no intent to hinder, delay or defraud creditors upon converting non-exempt assets on the eve of bankruptcy filing to increase the value of their homestead exemption to its fullest; while some badges of fraud present, no extrinsic evidence present of intent to hinder, delay or defraud).

(amendment to agricultural land valuation statute upheld as constitutional; properties at issue not primarily used for agricultural purposes and not entitled to preferential valuation).

(plaintiff’s adverse possession claim failed due to plaintiff’s inability to prove that possession was hostile).