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Commonwealth's Counties

Payments In-Lieu of Taxes Class Action Lawsuit

In June 2017, Kane County, Utah, filed a lawsuit in the U.S. Court of Federal Claims seeking to recover underpayments to the county as well as underpayments of all other Payments In-Lieu of Taxes (PILT) recipients nationwide for 2015-2017. In December, the court ruled in Kane County’s favor for FY2015 and FY2016 underpayments and issued a similar ruling on FY2017 underpayments in March 2018.

This lawsuit arose out of the following situation. In 2008, Congress amended the PILT statute by mandating full funding through 2014. Congress also repealed the original statute language that made the program discretionary and subject to the annual congressional appropriations process.  Due to insufficient appropriations for FY2015–2017, PILT recipients did not receive the full amount that they were entitled under the PILT statute based on the Department of the Interior’s full payment calculation.

There are approximately 60 Virginia Counties that Class Counsel (Smith, Currie and Hancock law firm) has identified as being underpaid in FY2015–2017. The dollar amounts range from $1 to approximately $17,000. As soon as the opt-in period has ended, Class Counsel will file a motion asking the Court to award it attorney’s fees and expenses.  Class Counsel will ask for one-third (33.3 percent) of the amounts recovered on behalf of all Class Members who opted in as its attorney’s fees, plus its actual out-of-pocket expenses—for filing fees, costs of printing and mailing the Class Notice.

To participate in this class action lawsuit and collect possible amounts due them, each underpaid PILT recipient must complete and submit a form “opting into” the lawsuit. If a county does not elect to join the class, they will not be included in the class action lawsuit and can choose to sue on their own. Counties will have until mid-September to opt into the class.

Click here for more information and to access the opt-in.

On June 19, 2018, NACo hosted a conference call with Class Counsel to discuss the lawsuit and how counties can join the suit. Click here to listen to a recording of the NACo hosted call. To opt in, a county must fill out and submit a Class Action Opt-In Notice Form no later than September 14, 2018.  See

VACo Contact: Phyllis Errico, Esq, CAE

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