SAN DIEGO, Calif. (July 27, 2011) – In a move that allows a class action lawsuit against the City of Chula Vista, Calif. to proceed, The California Supreme Court has unanimously held that Government Code Section 910 allows taxpayers to file a class action claim against a municipal governmental entity for a refund of local taxes.
According to Casey Gerry partner Thomas D. Penfield, co-lead counsel on the Chula Vista case – which alleges that the City has been illegally levying a tax on residents who have cellphone service — the High Court released its precedent-setting opinion Monday in Ardon v. City of Los Angeles (S174597), a similar case that challenges the city’s telephone users tax. “We were awaiting this ruling, which is important as it opens the door for class actions of this type, as guidance in our case against the City of Chula Vista,” Penfield said. “We will be serving our complaint immediately and begin the litigation.”
Last month, the San Diego-based law offices of Casey Gerry Schenk Francavilla Blatt & Penfield, LLP and Newport Beach-based Capretz & Associates joined forces to file a class action lawsuit against the City of Chula Vista, demanding restitution as a result of continued collection of a controversial tax on cell phone calls. The lawsuit was filed in the San Diego Superior Court on behalf of Chula Vista residents seeking a refund of taxes arising from the City of Chula Vista’s improper collection and administration of a “Utility Users Tax” (UUT) collected on mobile phone use. “Because this ruling was set to be announced, we held off on serving the complaint, but will now proceed,” Penfield said.
Through the class action, the law firms are seeking refund from the City for back taxes which were unlawfully collected over the years from Chula Vista residents. “We believe all Chula Vista taxpayers are clearly entitled to a refund of UUT’s improperly collected for the maximum period permissible, along with the legal rate of interest,” Penfield said. “These monies belong to the cell phone using residents of Chula Vista and should be returned — the City has no legal or equitable right to retain these funds.”
About Casey Gerry
San Diego’s oldest plaintiff’s law firm, Casey Gerry was founded in 1947, and since then has worked to help recover hundreds of millions of dollars for families and individuals who have suffered serious injury or lost loved ones. The firm’s 13 attorneys practice in numerous areas, including asbestos, personal injury, product liability and pharmaceutical litigation. Located at 110 Laurel St. in the Banker’s Hill neighborhood of San Diego, the firm also has a satellite office in Carlsbad, Calif. For more information, call (619) 238-1811 or visit the website at www.caseygerry.com.
About Capretz & Associates
James T. Capretz is the principal of the Newport Beach law firm of Capretz & Associates, a firm that emphasizes complex civil and multidistrict litigation in its practice. He is consistently listed in the Martindale-Hubbell Bar Registry of Preeminent Lawyers. He was the only attorney in private practice named in the initial publication of the top 50 most influential business people in Orange County by the Orange County Business Journal. He has served as Special Counsel in the seminal national product liability class action entitled Bowling vs. Pfizer, et al. in federal district court in Cincinnati, Ohio since 1992 and he has held positions of responsibility in several other federal class action lawsuits across the United States. He is a charter member of the prestigious Santa Monica-Base RAND Institute for the Civil Justice, So Cal 50 Executive Committee. His contact number is 949-724-3000 and website is www.capretz.com.