OAKLAND, Calif. (Legal Newsline) – BNSF Railway alleges 15 California counties are assessing it a higher property tax rate than other commercial and industrial property owners in violation of federal law.
BNSF Railway Co. filed a complaint Nov. 1 in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California against the California counties of Alameda, Contra Costa, Fresno, Kern, Kings, Madera, Merced, Orange, Plumas, Riverside, San Bernardino, San Diego, San Joaquin, Stanislaus and Tulare alleging violation of federal law.
"Defendants tax BNSF’s property at a tax rate that is higher than the tax rate generally applicable to commercial and industrial property in their respective jurisdictions," the suit states. "Because Congress has prohibited such discrimination in the property tax rates applied to railroads, defendants’ excessive taxation of BNSF’s property is a violation of federal law."
BNSF seeks monetary relief, to enjoin the counties from levying the higher property tax rate and other just relief. It is represented by Benjamin Horwich of Munger, Tolles & Olson LLP in San Francisco; Jessica Reich Baril of Munger, Tolles & Olson LLP in Los Angeles; Stephen Goodwin and Zachary Kisber of Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz in Memphis, Tennessee; and Misty Smith Kelley and John Phillips of Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz in Chattanooga, Tennessee.
U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California case number 19-CV-7230