SAN DIEGO – Enabling more than 100,000 Chula Vista residents who paid an unlawful telephone users tax (TUTs) on their mobile phone service to have their claims addressed in one lawsuit, San Diego Superior Court judge Richard E.L. Strauss has certified as a class action a tax refund case brought against the City. The case is now set to go to trial January 18, 2013.
Last year, San Diego-based CaseyGerry and Newport Beach-based Capretz & Associates joined forces to file the lawsuit against Chula Vista, which demanded restitution as a result of the continued collection of the controversial tax.
The lawsuit, which alleges that for years the City of Chula Vista has illegally levied a tax on residents’ mobile phone services, was filed on behalf of all those who had been forced to pay the tax. “In certifying the case as a class action, Judge Strauss rejected the City’s argument that the tax can be refunded only if each individual taxpayer files a separate refund claim with the City,” CaseyGerry attorney Jeremy K. Robinson said. “Instead, the judge ruled all people who have paid the tax can proceed collectively.”
According to Robinson, Chula Vista taxpayers are entitled to a refund of TUTs improperly collected for the maximum period permissible, along with the legal rate of interest. “This is an important case that could ultimately allow thousands of Chula Vista residents to seek millions in refunds,” he added.
The controversy stems from a tax introduced in 1970 and levied on users of telephones, electricity and other utilities. Chula Vista tried to modernize the tax two years ago via Proposition H, which was defeated by voters. Many taxpayers are unaware that they pay the tax on their mobile phone service, as it is automatically added to monthly charges and embedded in detailed billing statements.
The City of Chula Vista has fought the legality of the lawsuit, but efforts to dismiss the case have been denied.
A notice will eventually be sent to potential class members. In the meantime, interested Chula Vista residents may call CaseyGerry at (619) 238-1811.
San Diego’s oldest plaintiff’s law firm, CaseyGerry 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.