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Baldwin Construction Co. v. Essex County Board of Taxation

Decided: August 13, 1952.

BALDWIN CONSTRUCTION CO., ET AL., PLAINTIFFS,
v.
ESSEX COUNTY BOARD OF TAXATION, ET AL., DEFENDANTS



On motion to dismiss complaint

Joseph L. Smith, J.s.c.

Smith

The sole question before this court is on a motion on behalf of the defendant City of East Orange and the defendant Essex County Board of Taxation to dismiss the action on the ground that this court lacks jurisdiction over the subject matter of the action, as the plaintiffs have not exhausted their remedies before the administrative agency before instituting the present action, in that they did not appeal to the Essex County Board of Taxation from the assessments made against their real property.

The merits of the controversy, naturally, this court is not in any way now determining or expressing any opinion thereon. It seems to me that the sole question before the court is whether or not in the exercise of its discretion will the court retain jurisdiction. It has jurisdiction, and it will retain same.

In considering the briefs submitted, the oral arguments, the pleadings, and the record as submitted to the court, it is apparent that the gravamen of the action on behalf of these plaintiffs is one of discriminatory conduct on the part of the said taxing board.

From the record it would appear that all the plaintiffs own real estate in the City of East Orange, and the properties

owned by them are set forth in Schedule A annexed to the complaint and Schedule A annexed to the petition, requesting that certain parties plaintiff be admitted to this action. Orders so directing have been entered. These properties were assessed by the defendant City of East Orange for 1952 by its assessors in the amounts set forth in the said Schedules A.

The assessors on January 10, 1952 filed their list with the county board, and on January 25, 1952, pursuant to the statute, the said board of assessors of all the taxing districts of Essex County met for the purpose of examining, revising, correcting and equalizing their respective tax lists.

On March 20, 1952 the tax board made an order directed to the assessors, as set forth in paragraph 7 of the complaint, ordering that the tax lists relating to certain properties in the City of East Orange be corrected and revised in accordance with the amounts of the assessments contained in the list prepared and presented in the order of the said tax board. The assessors corrected their lists in accordance therewith. This order referred to 62 tracts of real estate, among which the plaintiffs' properties are included, and the tax lists made by the assessors for the 1952 valuations are set forth in the original statutory lists.

On March 24, 1952 the assessors complied with the aforesaid order and corrected the tax lists and duplicate.

These plaintiffs, of course, are not all of the taxpayers whose assessments for 1952 were revised.

The court, in determining the motion adversely to the defendants, is exercising its discretion and retaining jurisdiction because of the expression as pronounced by the Supreme Court in ...


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