Court Certifies Class of Taxpayers Seeking Refunds of Telephone Tax

May 25, 2017 – On May 23, 2017, the Superior Court for the County of Los Angeles certified a class action brought by taxpayers against the County of Los Angeles seeking refunds of telephone taxes collected from August 25, 2005 to November 4, 2008.

The lawsuit, called Granados v. County of Los Angeles, was filed in 2006 and asserts that the County of Los Angeles improperly collected tax on most telephone services even though the County’s tax ordinance applied only to local telephone service.  The tax was collected through telephone bills from individuals and businesses who had a telephone billing or service address within the unincorporated areas of the County.  The decision granting class certification permits the plaintiff to seek refunds on behalf of all taxpayers who paid the tax from August 25, 2005 to November 4, 2008, unless they have already received a full refund.  A motion for summary judgment is scheduled to be heard in August 2017.

In 2011 and 2013, in two related cases against the City of Los Angeles and the City of Long Beach, the Supreme Court of California reached landmark decisions interpreting the rights of taxpayers to bring class action claims for telephone tax refunds.  The first of those two cases, Ardon v. City of Los Angeles, settled for $92.5 million in 2016.

The Plaintiffs in all three cases are represented by Nick Chimicles and Tim Mathews of Chimicles Schwartz Kriner & Donaldson-Smith LLP, along with their co-counsel, Wolf Haldenstein Adler Freeman & Herz LLP, Cuneo Gilbert & LaDuca, LLP, and Tostrud Law Group, PC.

A copy of the Court’s decision is available here.