SDM’s Curtis Osterloh prevails in the Houston Court of Appeals on behalf of Anheuser Busch, L.L.C.
SDM’s Curtis Osterloh recently obtained a substantial penalty and interest waiver on behalf of Anheuser Busch, L.L.C. from Harris County on an appeal before the Houston Court of Appeals First District of Texas. Anheuser Busch sued Harris County for improperly asserting the penalty and interest after Anheuser Busch’s payment for its Harris County property tax was deemed late filed because the payment failed to clear due to internal fraud prevention protocols. Anheuser Busch made payment of the full tax amount and subsequent paid penalty and interest under protest. After losing at the District Court on cross motions for summary judgment the Court of Appeals reversed and rendered in part and remanded in part in favor of Anheuser Busch. In sustaining the vast bulk of the penalty waiver request the Court rejected Harris County’s claims of governmental immunity, waiver, substantial compliance and the voluntary payment rule. The Court sustained Anheuser Busch’s argument that Harris County failed to comply with Texas Tax Code Section 31.01(a)’s requirement regarding notice and remanded a minor portion of the penalty matter back to the District Court to determine facts that could result in a complete abatement of all penalty and interest. A link to the decision can be found here.