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Nashua Coliseum, LLC v. City of Nashua

Supreme Court of New Hampshire

June 5, 2015

Nashua Coliseum, LLC
v.
City of Nashua

Argued March 31, 2015.

Hillsborough-southern judicial district.

Wadleigh, Starr & Peters, PLLC, of Manchester ( Michael J. Tierney on the memorandum of law and orally), for the petitioner.

Sassoon & Cymrot, LLP, of Boston, Massachusetts ( Anthony M. Ambriano on the brief and orally), for the respondent.

LYNN, J. DALIANIS, C.J., and HICKS, CONBOY, and BASSETT, JJ., concurred.

OPINION

Page 265

Lynn, J.

The respondent, the City of Nashua (City), appeals an order of the Superior Court ( Colburn, J.) ruling that it could properly consider a tax abatement for the 2012 tax year for the petitioner taxpayer, Nashua Coliseum, LLC (Coliseum). We reverse.

The following facts were found by the trial court or are otherwise undisputed. Coliseum is the owner of a shopping plaza. The City assessed the plaza's value at

Page 266

$7,659,200 for the 2011 tax year. Coliseum timely applied for an abatement of the 2011 tax, which the City denied. Coliseum appealed the City's denial to the superior court. See RSA 76:17 (2012). While the 2011 tax abatement appeal was pending, the City issued an assessment and corresponding tax invoice for the plaza for the 2012 tax year. Coliseum did not file an application with the City for an abatement of the 2012 taxes by the March 1, 2013 deadline. See RSA 76:16, I(b) (Supp. 2014). On June 6, 2013, the parties executed a settlement agreement regarding the 2011 taxes. The agreement states, in pertinent part:

The parties agree that this abatement is offered and accepted as a settlement of a disputed claim. Neither the fact nor the amount of the abatement shall be admissible in evidence in any other abatement proceedings concerning this property. Without limiting the generality of the foregoing, the abated value agreed to by the parties shall not be deemed to be the " correct assessment value" for purposes of RSA 76:17-c, and shall have no effect on assessments for subsequent tax years. Subject only to the foregoing limitation, nothing herein shall preclude the Taxpayer from pursuing abatement proceedings for tax year 2012.

Subsequently, Coliseum filed a motion in limine with the superior court, in which it sought a declaration that even though the parties had settled the tax abatement appeal for 2011, the 2012 tax abatement was properly before the court. The court granted Coliseum's motion and denied the City's subsequent motion for reconsideration.

The parties later entered into an agreement for judgment regarding the 2012 tax year. This agreement preserved the City's right to appeal the court's ruling that it could address the 2012 tax year notwithstanding that Coliseum did not file an abatement request with the City for that year, but resolved the amount of the abatement to which Coliseum was entitled ...


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