Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

UNITED STATES v. CITY OF HIGHWOOD

April 26, 1989

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
v.
CITY OF HIGHWOOD, Defendant


James B. Moran, United States District Judge.


The opinion of the court was delivered by: MORAN

JAMES B. MORAN, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

 A city ordinance of Highwood, Illinois, requires its residents to pay an annual tax or license fee ("fee") for motor vehicles they own and intend to operate on the streets of Highwood. To evidence payment, Highwood issues a sticker to be displayed on vehicle windshields. Any resident of Highwood who operates a vehicle without displaying the sticker is issued a citation by the Highwood police.

 Located immediately adjacent to the City of Highwood is Fort Sheridan, a U. S. Army installation. Highwood enforces this ordinance against servicemen from Fort Sheridan who reside in Highwood, unless they are able to prove residence in a state other than Illinois and that they paid a similar tax or fee in that state. Any serviceman who registers his vehicle and obtains license plates in Illinois is assumed by Highwood to be a resident of Illinois and thus subject to its ordinance.

 Fort Sheridan officials oppose the enforcement of Highwood's ordinance against nonresident servicemen stationed at Fort Sheridan and living temporarily in Highwood. They claim the fee required by the ordinance represents a tax prohibited by section 514 of the Soldiers' and Sailors' Civil Relief Act of 1940, 50 U.S.C.App. § 574 (the "Act"). The Act essentially forbids a state or its subdivisions from imposing a tax on the income or personal property of nonresident servicemen.

 In an effort to encourage Highwood to comply with the Act, Fort Sheridan has issued a modified Defense Department vehicle sticker to nonresident servicemen living in Highwood. These stickers are intended to provide a ready means by which the Highwood police can determine whether the vehicle is owned by a nonresident. However, notwithstanding the display of the Defense Department sticker, Highwood has continued to issue citations to vehicles it deems in violation of its ordinance.

 At the request of the Army the government has brought this action seeking a declaratory judgment, and also preliminary and permanent injunctive relief prohibiting Highwood from enforcing its ordinance against nonresident servicemen stationed at Fort Sheridan and living temporarily in Highwood.

 The government has moved for summary judgment, claiming the enforcement of Highwood's ordinance against nonresident servicemen violates the Civil Relief Act. Also before us is Highwood's motion to dismiss, contending that the controversy herein has become moot because of the government's decision to close Fort Sheridan. For reasons hereinafter stated, the government's motion for summary judgment is granted, and defendant's motion to dismiss is denied.

 DISCUSSION

 I. Government's Summary Judgment Motion

 A. Purpose of the Civil Relief Act

 The Civil Relief Act of 1940, 50 U.S.C.App. § 574, is intended to relieve nonresident servicemen of the burden of supporting state and local governments if the servicemen's presence in the state is solely the result of military service. California v. Buzard, 382 U.S. 386, 393, 15 L. Ed. 2d 436, 86 S. Ct. 478 (1966). Section 514(1) of the Act provides that servicemen shall not lose their home state residences. 50 U.S.C.App. § 574. It further provides that "with respect to personal property, or the use thereof," property shall be deemed not "to have a situs for taxation" in the host state (the host state is the state where the serviceman is living pursuant to military orders). Id. Thus, subsection (1) forbids a state or its subdivisions from imposing taxes on a nonresident serviceman's personal property if the assessment would be based solely on the location of personal property.

 The applicability of subsection (1) in this case is made clear by subsection (2). The latter provides that "personal property" shall include motor vehicles, and the "term 'taxation' shall include licenses, fees, or excises imposed in respect to motor vehicles or the use thereof: Provided, That the license, fee or excise required . . . [by the serviceman's home state] has been paid" (emphasis in original).

 The Act therefore protects servicemen against the prospect of double taxation presented by their temporary duty in a state other than their home residence or domicile. Sullivan v. United States, 395 U.S. 169, 180, 23 L. Ed. 2d 182, 89 S. Ct. 1648 (1969). This protection has been liberally construed to exempt servicemen from taxes imposed by states where they do not reside. See e.g., Le Maistre v. Leffers, 333 U.S. 1, 6, 92 L. Ed. 429, 68 S. Ct. 371 (1948) (Act "must be read with an eye friendly to those who dropped their affairs to answer their country's call"); Boone v. Lightner, 319 U.S. 561, 575, 87 L. Ed. 1587, ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.