8 Cal.3d 942, 22980, Bauer-Schweitzer Malting Co. v. City and County of San Francisco

Docket Nº:22980
Citation:8 Cal.3d 942, 106 Cal.Rptr. 643, 506 P.2d 1019
Opinion Judge:[11] Mccomb
Party Name:Bauer-Schweitzer Malting Co. v. City and County of San Francisco
Attorney:[7] John P. Macmeeken, L. K. Whitaker and Chickering & Gregory for Plaintiff and Appellant. [8] Thomas M. O'Connor, City Attorney, and George E. Baglin, Deputy City Attorney, for Defendant and Respondent. [9] Lowenthal & Lowenthal, Morris Lowenthal and Juliet Lowenthal as Amici Curiae on behalf o...
Case Date:March 05, 1973
Court:Supreme Court of California
 
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Page 942

8 Cal.3d 942

106 Cal.Rptr. 643, 506 P.2d 1019

BAUER-SCHWEITZER MALTING CO., INC., Plaintiff and Appellant,

v.

CITY AND COUNTY OF SAN FRANCISCO, Defendant and Respondent.

S.F. 22980.

Supreme Court of California

March 5, 1973.

In Bank

Rehearing Denied April 4, 1973.

Page 943

John P. Macmeeken, L. K. Whitaker, and Chickering & Gregory, San Francisco, for plaintiff and appellant.

Thomas M. O'Connor, City Atty., and George E. Baglin, Deputy City Atty., for defendant and respondent.

Lowenthal & Lowenthal, Morris Lowenthal, and Juliet Lowenthal, San Francisco, as amici curiae on behalf of defendant and respondent.

McCOMB, Justice.

Plaintiff appeals from a judgment in favor of defendant in an action to recover personal property taxes paid by it under protest.

Following a grand jury investigation in 1965, Russell L. Wolden, the then Assessor of the City and County of San Francisco, was charged with criminal misconduct in office. Thereafter, four San Francisco taxpayers

Page 944

commenced a taxpayers' suit seeking a writ of mandate to require official action with respect to the situation brought about by Wolden's activities in office, as revealed by the grand jury investigation.

In the taxpayers' suit, the superior court directed issuance of a writ of mandate substantially as prayed for. The writ required, among other things, that the board of supervisors, in cooperation with the assessor and his office but 'through' independent auditors, appraisers, and certified public accountants, make a full investigation, inquiry, and examination into the matter of loss of property tax revenues during any assessment year as to which recovery was permitted by law. The writ further ordered that the assessor and the board of equalization take appropriate action with respect thereto, making new assessments (including penal assessments) as authorized by law and recovering property taxes determined to be owing to the city and county (with appropriate penalties authorized by law).

The investigation made through the independent experts disclosed that the assessor had set a 50 percent assessment ratio as applicable to the inventories of business firms and that such assessment ratio was applied in 93 percent of the cases. Varying lesser assessment ratios were applied with respect to the remaining 7 percent of the business-firm taxpayers, including plaintiff.

On March 28, 1967, in accordance with the writ of mandate issued in the above mentioned taxpayers' suit, escaped assessments were rendered against plaintiff for alleged deficiencies in the personal property taxes paid by it for the years 1964, 1965, and 1966; and such escaped assessments were placed on the assessment roll for the year 1966. With one minor exception pertaining to the year 1966, plaintiff had accurately reported the cost of its inventories to the assessor; and the record does not show any fraud or any collusion between plaintiff and the assessor, or anyone in the assessor's office, with respect to the favored treatment given plaintiff. Plaintiff paid under protest the taxes imposed under the escaped assessments and sued for a refund. The matter was submitted on the pleadings, briefs, and arguments; and judgment was thereafter rendered in favor of defendant.

An appeal...

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