Sales Tax Complaint Remanded

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A federal district court remanded to state court an action that made various contractual and consumer oriented claims regarding the collection of sales tax. Farneth v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., 2:3-cv-01062 (W.D.PA. Dec. 30, 2013). The plaintiff purchased two items of shaving gel at a Wal-Mart store taking advantage of a two-for-one promotional sale. The store charged Pennsylvania Sales Tax as though both items were purchased at full price. The plaintiff brought suit on various tort and trade practice claims. The case was brought as a punitive class action. Wal-Mart removed the case to federal court, which remanded to the state court on the grounds of comity, because the state courts were better equipped to deal with such claims. The court did not rely on the Anti-Tax Injunction Act, evidently because the state was not made a party, at least not up through the time of remand. However the possibility of state involvement directly or indirectly was a factor in the remand. Wal-Mart had asked for advice several years prior regarding two-for-one sales; the parties disagreed on what interpretation should be given to the advice received.

 


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