The City of Falls Church Public Information Office issued a press release late this afternoon stating that Fairfax County Circuit Court Judge Jane Marum Roush granted motions by the City of Falls Church today (Aug. 18) to dismiss 14 consolidated water refund cases. A copy of the Court’s order is available on the City’s web site.
The Court ruled that the right to seek a “tax” refund is created by statute and that the statute expressly required that the suit be filed in the city where the assessment is made. In this case, that means that the plaintiffs should have filed in Arlington County Circuit Court, not Fairfax County, since Arlington (the 17th Judicial District) is the court of record for the City of Falls Church. Judge Roush further ruled that the plaintiffs’ filing in the incorrect court warranted dismissal of the cases.
While the lawsuits were dismissed today because they were filed in the wrong jurisdiction, the City maintains that on the merits, the claims for refunds are baseless.
Late in 2010 and early 2011, the City was sued by several City water customers for refunds based on Judge R. Terrence Ney’s decision in Fairfax County Water Authority v. City of Falls Church. That ruling enjoined the City from “transferring any moneys from its water fund to its general fund for purposes unrelated to the water system, including the ‘management fee’ transfer for the City’s Fiscal Years 2009 and 2010.” The ruling did not call for refunds. The City complied fully with that ruling.
The City said in its statement that it continues to welcome the opportunity for constructive dialogue with Fairfax County on water service in the County.