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Williams & Fickett v. County of Fresno

California Court of Appeals, Fifth District

January 9, 2015

WILLIAMS & FICKETT, Plaintiff and Appellant,
v.
COUNTY OF FRESNO, Defendant and Respondent.

[REVIEW GRANTED BY CAL. SUPREME COURT]

APPEAL from a judgment of the Superior Court of Fresno County. No. 13CECG00461 Donald S. Black, Judge.

Page 1251

[Copyrighted Material Omitted]

Page 1252

COUNSEL

Dowling Aaron Incorporated, Lynne Thaxter Brown and Ronald A. Henderson for Plaintiff and Appellant.

Daniel C. Cederborg, County Counsel, and Michael R. Linden, Deputy County Counsel, for Defendant and Respondent.

OPINION

LEVY, ACTING P.J.

Appellant Williams & Fickett, a general partnership, challenges the judgment dismissing its complaint against respondent County of Fresno (County) for a refund of personal property taxes. The trial court sustained the County’s demurrer to the complaint without leave to amend on the ground that appellant did not exhaust its administrative remedies before

Page 1253

filing suit. The trial court ruled that appellant was required to first file an application for a reduction in assessment with the Fresno County Assessment Appeals Board (Assessment Appeals Board) under Revenue and Taxation Code[1] section 1603.

Appellant contends it did not own the assessed property on the applicable lien dates and thus the assessments were “nullities.” Therefore, appellant argues, it was not required to file an application for assessment reduction. Appellant further asserts that its complaint is not barred by the statute of limitations because its refund claims were filed within four years of its having paid the taxes as required by section 5097.

Appellant is correct. Because appellant’s refund claims are based on not owning the property in question, it was not required to file an assessment reduction application. Further, appellant’s refund claims were timely filed. ...


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