National Gas Distributors, Inc. v. State, No. S

CourtSupreme Court of Tennessee
Writing for the CourtO'BRIEN; DROWOTA
Citation804 S.W.2d 66
PartiesNATIONAL GAS DISTRIBUTORS, INC., Plaintiff/Appellee, v. STATE of Tennessee, and Dudley W. Taylor, Commissioner of Revenue, Defendant/Appellant. /C 307.
Decision Date04 February 1991
Docket NumberNo. S

Page 66

804 S.W.2d 66
NATIONAL GAS DISTRIBUTORS, INC., Plaintiff/Appellee,
v.
STATE of Tennessee, and Dudley W. Taylor, Commissioner of
Revenue, Defendant/Appellant.
No. S/C 307.
Supreme Court of Tennessee,
at Knoxville.
Feb. 4, 1991.

Donald K. Vowell, Rainwater, Humble and Vowell, Knoxville, for plaintiff/appellee.

Charles W. Burson, Atty. Gen. & Reporter, Charles L. Lewis, Deputy Atty. Gen., Pamela Bingham Broussard, Asst. Atty. Gen., Nashville, for defendant/appellant.

OPINION

O'BRIEN, Justice.

Plaintiff, National Gas Distributors, Inc., initiated this action against the State of Tennessee and the Commissioner of Revenue to recover taxes paid under protest assessed in accordance with T.C.A. § 67-4-405(a)(2).

The plaintiff, a domestic corporation located in Knoxville, Tennessee, is in the business of selling and distributing propane gas to residential customers within a 50 to 75 mile radius of Knoxville who are not served by natural gas pipelines. The company receives the propane in a liquid form by rail and distributes this liquid propane on its own trucks to its customers. The propane is stored in liquid form under pressure in tanks provided by the plaintiff until, when utilized by the customer it is transformed into a gaseous state for burning.

Page 67

T.C.A. § 67-4-405(a)(2) provides in pertinent part that persons engaged in the business of distributing natural gas shall pay an amount equal to one and one-half percent (1.5%) of the gross receipts derived from intrastate business. In announcing judgment in this case the chancellor correctly held that the intent of the Legislature must be determined, and given effect. He based his judgment generally on the composition of propane gas as a component of and compared to natural gas. Both, in the court below, and in this Court, each of the parties have devoted the import of their argument in a similar vein. The plaintiff asserts that the plan and ordinary language of the statute taxes only that gas known by a lay person as "natural gas." The State argues that "natural gas" as used in the statute, includes all naturally occurring fuel gases constituting natural gas, and, among these, propane is a component.

We are of the opinion that the resolution of this matter does not depend on the composition of either natural gas as determined by the experts, or of propane, which they identified as an integral component of natural gas.

In interpreting statutes the legislative intent must be...

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107 practice notes
  • Cohen v. Cohen
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Tennessee
    • September 16, 1996
    ...statute, without any forced or subtle construction which would extend or limit its meaning." National Gas Distributors, Inc. v. State, 804 S.W.2d 66, 67 (Tenn.1991). We must give effect to every word, phrase, clause, and sentence of an act to achieve the legislature's intent. United Canners......
  • Consolidated Waste Systems v. Metro Government of Nashville and Davidson County, No. M2002-02582-COA-R3-CV (TN 6/30/2005), No. M2002-02582-COA-R3-CV.
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Tennessee
    • June 30, 2005
    ...be read "without any forced or subtle construction which would extend or limit its meaning." National Gas Distributors, Inc. v. State, 804 S.W.2d 66, 67 (Tenn.1991). As our Supreme Court has said, "[w]e must seek a reasonable construction in light of the purposes, objectives, and spirit of ......
  • Kendrick v. Kendrick
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of Tennessee
    • November 16, 1994
    ...possible effect to the statute's purpose without unduly restricting or extending its coverage. National Gas Distribs., Inc. v. State, 804 S.W.2d 66, 67 (Tenn.1991); Davenport v. Chrysler Credit Corp., 818 S.W.2d 23, 27 (Tenn.Ct.App.1991). We may elucidate a statute's purpose by consulting i......
  • B.F. Nashville, Inc. v. City of Franklin, No. M2003-00180-COA-R3-CV (TN 1/21/2005), No. M2003-00180-COA-R3-CV.
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Tennessee
    • January 21, 2005
    ...be read "without any forced or subtle construction which would extend or limit its meaning." National Gas Distributors, Inc. v. State, 804 S.W.2d 66, 67 (Tenn.1991). As our Supreme Court has said, "[w]e must seek a reasonable construction in light of the purposes, objectives, and spirit of ......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
107 cases
  • Cohen v. Cohen
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Tennessee
    • September 16, 1996
    ...statute, without any forced or subtle construction which would extend or limit its meaning." National Gas Distributors, Inc. v. State, 804 S.W.2d 66, 67 (Tenn.1991). We must give effect to every word, phrase, clause, and sentence of an act to achieve the legislature's intent. United Canners......
  • Consolidated Waste Systems v. Metro Government of Nashville and Davidson County, No. M2002-02582-COA-R3-CV (TN 6/30/2005), No. M2002-02582-COA-R3-CV.
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Tennessee
    • June 30, 2005
    ...be read "without any forced or subtle construction which would extend or limit its meaning." National Gas Distributors, Inc. v. State, 804 S.W.2d 66, 67 (Tenn.1991). As our Supreme Court has said, "[w]e must seek a reasonable construction in light of the purposes, objectives, and spirit of ......
  • Kendrick v. Kendrick
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of Tennessee
    • November 16, 1994
    ...possible effect to the statute's purpose without unduly restricting or extending its coverage. National Gas Distribs., Inc. v. State, 804 S.W.2d 66, 67 (Tenn.1991); Davenport v. Chrysler Credit Corp., 818 S.W.2d 23, 27 (Tenn.Ct.App.1991). We may elucidate a statute's purpose by consulting i......
  • B.F. Nashville, Inc. v. City of Franklin, No. M2003-00180-COA-R3-CV (TN 1/21/2005), No. M2003-00180-COA-R3-CV.
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Tennessee
    • January 21, 2005
    ...be read "without any forced or subtle construction which would extend or limit its meaning." National Gas Distributors, Inc. v. State, 804 S.W.2d 66, 67 (Tenn.1991). As our Supreme Court has said, "[w]e must seek a reasonable construction in light of the purposes, objectives, and spirit of ......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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