Qwest v. City of Springfield

Utility Taxes

Case: Qwest Corp. v. City of Springfield, 2016 WL 2755048 (Or.Cir.).

Synopsis: This matter raised multiple issues. First, the parties asked the Court to decide whether the City of Springfield could impose a new utility tax in light of statutory and Oregon Constitutional restrictions. Defendant also raised the affirmative defense that Plaintiffs were precluded from litigating whether the utility tax violated an Oregon statute as it was essential to an earlier decision. Second, the parties asked the Court to decide whether Springfield was required to refund excess taxes paid by Plaintiff Qwest Corporation, a Colorado corporation doing business as CenturyLink.

Judge Rasmussen found that Plaintiffs were not precluded from litigating this issue, Springfield’s Utility Tax did not violate Oregon statutes, and the city’s exclusion of wireless telecommunications carriers from the utility tax did not violate the Oregon Constitution. He also found that CenturyLink overpaid Springfield and under either a money-had-and-received theory or, in the alternative, a breach of contract theory, Springfield had to repay CenturyLink.

Link to Opinion