Northern Ag Network
posted on May 29, 2012 10:04 :: 548 Views
The following is a press release from the Montana Farm Bureau Federation:
The Montana Farm Bureau Federation has filed with the Montana Supreme Court appealing the denial of class certification in the Lucas et al v. Montana Department of Revenue case. In the original case, a Class Action Lawsuit was filed by Montana Farm Bureau Federation, Lucas Ranch, and Montana Taxpayers Association against the Montana Department of Revenue (DOR) regarding improperly phased valuation changes to ag-land taxes, making it possible for landowners to protest their taxes. Judge Spaulding, 14th Judicial District Court, rejected Farm Bureau’s class certification on the tax reappraisal lawsuit against the DOR. In November, the Montana Supreme Court agreed to hear the appeal, and that appeal has now been filed.
The brief that was filed states,“the Supreme Court must reverse the District Court’s order denying class certification in this matter because the Appellee Department of Revenue (DOR) concedes Appellants (Taxpayers) have met the criteria for class certification under Mont.R.Civ.P/23. The Court must reject the Department’s request to remand the issue to the District Court of further consideration because the class definition was clear to the Department and the District Court during the proceedings and the District’s Court order is frivolous.”
The brief noted, “The ‘refined’ class definition the Department now recognizes encompasses the same taxpayers included under Taxpayers original petition and motion. Regardless of how one attempts to describe the underlying legal challenge in this case, the class consists of all agricultural property owners who paid any portion of their 2009 taxes under protest. Taxpayers’ original motion sought class certification for all agricultural property owners who protested any portion of their 2009 taxes.
“This is a great opportunity for the Montana Supreme Court to look at the important issue of ag lands reappraisal and make sure it’s fair for all producers in Montana,” said Nancy Schlepp, president, Montana Taxpayers’ Association..
Jake Cummins, executive vice president, MFBF, stated, “I am confident the Montana Supreme Court will agree with us and give all Montana’s farmers and ranchers the opportunity to challenge the illegal and unfair taxes levied on them by Montana’s Department of Revenue, and that we will prevail in that challenge.”
Source: Montana Farm Bureau Federation
Posted by Haylie Shipp