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ISSAQUAH LAW GROUP - PERSONAL INJURY LITIGATION LAWYERS

Issaquah Law Group - Personal Injury Litigation Attorneys

TRUST: Personal injuries are personal. Which is why the attorneys at ILG treat every client and every case differently. Because they are different, and extremely personal. ILG was founded on the principle that strong client relationships are the key to successful legal representation and strong relationships are built on trust. Trust that you will be heard. Trust that you will be protected. Trust that every effort will be made to see justice done in your case. The singular goal of every ILG attorney is to earn and preserve that trust.

EXPERIENCE: ILG attorneys have a broad base of litigation experience to draw on in all Federal and State courts from on-the-ground investigations to Supreme Court appeals and we bring this experience to bear on behalf of our clients in personal injury and wrongful death claims arising out of motor vehicle accidents, bus versus pedestrian accidents, defective and dangerous products, medical malpractice, slip/trip and fall accidents, and catastrophic losses due to fire.

LOCATION: We are located on the Eastside in Issaquah, convenient to Bellevue, Redmond, Kirkland, Renton, Sammamish and North Bend. However, we provide legal services in King County, Pierce County, Snohomish County and throughout the entire state of Washington.

In addition, through The Amateur Law Professor Blog and LinkedIn postings, we share pertinent opinions and decisions of the Washington State Supreme Court, as well as the pertinent opinions and decisions of the Washington State Courts of Appeal so that our clients can be as update to date on cutting legal issues as we are.

WA Legal Roundup: Division II

Lamtec Corp. v. Dep’t. of Revenue

Lamtec, a New Jersey company engaged in the manufacturing and selling of vapor barriers and insulation facings, does business (over the phone) with several WA clients.   The orders are placed via telephone and the goods are shipped F.O.B with the customers bearing the risk of loss.  Lamtec employees (of which are located in New Jersey and one in Ohio) have “visited” their WA clients several times in the tax years of 1997 and 2003 (the years at issue in this case) and, while no sales were placed, admitted that the purpose was to maintain the customer relations.

The Department contacted Lamtec and determined that their sales activities were subject to the State’s taxing authority and assessed a B&O tax (business and occupation) of $71,566.12.  Lamtec appealed to the Department Appeals Board who confirmed the tax assessment.  After exhausting its remedies, Lamtec paid the taxes and filed suit in Thurston County who granted summary judgment in the Department’s favor. Lametec appealed to the Court of Appeals making the statutory argument that under the specific WAC, WA B&O tax should not apply to Lamtec’s wholesale sales to its Washington clients and a constitutional argument that the B&O tax violates the commerce clause. 

Contrary to Lamtec’s belief, the Court ruled that under the WAC, the Department could impose a B&O tax on Lamtec because it found that Lamtec’s customers did receive their goods in Washington (because even though the products were shipped F.O.B New Jersey, the common carriers did not have authority to inspect, accept or reject the goods) and that Lamtec has a nexus with Washington. 

The Court evaluated the nexus/commerce clause argument against the four part test developed by the United State Supreme Court. the first prong (that there is a nexus between WA and Lamtec is the only prong being disputed).  Despite that Lamtec does not hold a physical presence in the state the Court found that there was in deed a nexus because Lamtec made several in person visits to WA for the purpose of maintaining its market in Washington.  Moreover, during these visits the employees answered questions, listened to concerns, provided information on the products, and participated in telephone calls that the clients placed to New Jersey. 

Finally, the Court held that the Department is not barred from imposing B&O taxes because Lamtec’s activities in Washington are not significantly associated with its sales to the state.  The Court ruled that Lamtec has not met its burden to prove their disassociation argument especially in light of the fact that Lamtec sends its employees to maintain its Washington market and its activities are not “separate and independent from its Washington customers.”

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