WI Court of Appeals – District III
Case Name: Wal-Mart Real Estate Business Trust v. City of Merrill [Recommended for Publication]
Case No.: 2021AP000972
Officials: Hruz, J.
Focus: Tax Assessment – Hearing Appearance
On appeal, Wal-Mart argues that the circuit court erred by dismissing Wal-Mart’s claims, for excessive tax assessment, non-uniform tax assessment, and declaratory judgment against the City of Merrill. In doing so, Wal-Mart argues that in order to comply with WIS. STAT. § 70.47(7)(a), a taxpayer need only file an objection with the taxpayer’s opinion about the property’s value. In the context of a motion to dismiss, Wal-Mart insists that its complaint alleged compliance with § 70.47(7)(a) because Wal-Mart alleged that it filed a written objection with the Board and that the Board issued a notice of decision. Wal-Mart asserts that those allegations create reasonable inferences that a hearing was held and that Wal-Mart presented evidence to the Board. In the alternative, Wal-Mart argues that the City waived any argument regarding Wal-Mart’s lack of compliance under § 70.47(7)(a), primarily because the Board held a hearing and issued a notice of decision. Wal-Mart also argues that it was denied due process because the Board failed to timely notify Wal-Mart that the hearing would not be waived and that Wal-Mart would not be permitted to appear by telephone.
The appeals court reasoned Wal-Mart knew that the Board would be holding a hearing on Wal-Mart’s objection, and Wal-Mart had an opportunity to appear at that hearing to present evidence in support of its objection. Wal-Mart did not take advantage of this opportunity to be heard. Instead, it relied on its own expectation that the Board would either waive the hearing, allow Wal-Mart to appear by telephone, or adjourn the hearing to a later time