Tales of contingent-fee tax collection

by Walter Olson on July 28, 2009

A St. Louis lawyer has won big in contingency-fee tax collection by teaming up with class action firm Korein Tillery to challenge cellphone companies’ claims not to be subject to municipal taxes on landline telephone providers. At the same time he’s been town attorney for the suburban community of University City, which now finds itself in the position (with many other Missouri municipalities) of paying its share of $65 million in proposed fees. [Paul Hampel and Margaret Gillerman, "U.City lawyer wins big in class-action case", St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Jul. 23]

{ 1 comment }

1 Litigiator 07.31.09 at 12:08 pm

That’s a tasty little conflict of interest.

I recall another telephone class action: I was one day in the Circus Court of Cook County, Illinois, when I listened to a lawyer explaining to the judge about how Illinois Bell had apparently been shaving a fraction of a cent off every pay phone call, and this was hurting consumers. The judge, incredulous, asked the lawyer just how he thought it might be possible to refund that fraction of a penny to each pay phone user. The courtroom broke out in laughter.

Sad ending: I read sometime later that the case had settled. No doubt coupons for free pay phone calls were distributed to anyone who submitted sufficient documentation of their pay phone calls.

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