McWilliams v. City of Long BeachAnnotate this Case
This dispute arose out of a class action lawsuit filed by Plaintiff, a resident of Defendant City, challenging the City's telephone users tax (TUT) and seeking refund of the taxes paid. The trial court ruled that class claims for a refund were barred under Woosley v. State and dismissed the case. The court of appeal reversed in part, holding that Plaintiff could file a class claim for a TUT refund under the recently decided Ardon v. City of Los Angeles. In Ardon, the Supreme Court held that the Government Claims Act (Act) permits a class action claim by taxpayers against a local government entity for the refund of an unlawful tax in the absence of a specific tax refund procedure set forth in an applicable governing claims statute. The City appealed, asserting that its municipal code contained an "applicable governing claims statute" barring class action claims for a tax refund. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that a local ordinance is not a "statute" within the meaning of the Act.