Sunday, August 30, 2009

Right To A Jury In Tax Refund Actions

In Franchise Tax Board v. Superior Court (here), the Court of Appeal held that a taxpayer in a tax refund action has the right to a jury trial. Under the California Constitution, whether a party in a particular action has a right to a jury depends on whether an anologous cause action would have cognizable in the common law courts in 1850, when the first California Constitution was adopted. Because taxpayers could sue tax collectors for a refund at common law before 1850, and because the relief sought is monetary rather than equitable, the right to a jury trial attaches to the modern day statutory tax refund action.

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