Articles Posted in New Hampshire Supreme Court

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Plaintiff, The Bishop of the Protestant Episcopal Diocese in New Hampshire, A Corporation Sole, d/b/a St. George’s Episcopal Church (Church), appealed a superior court order denying its summary judgment motion and granting that of the defendant, Town of Durham (Town), based upon a finding that 24 spaces in the Church’s parking lot that are leased to University of New Hampshire (UNH) students were taxable. Until 2013, the Church received a religious tax exemption under RSA 72:23, III for its entire parking lot. In early 2013, the Town learned that the Church leased spaces to UNH students. At that time, the Town believed students leased 30 of the 37 parking spaces. Accordingly, after determining that the leased parking spaces were no longer exempt from taxation, the Town issued the Church a tax bill. After review of the Church’s arguments on appeal, the New Hampshire Supreme Court concluded that the Church did not meet its burden of demonstrating that the leased spaces were exempt. The Court affirmed the superior court order. View "Bishop of the Protestant Episcopal Diocese in New Hampshire v. Town of Durham" on Justia Law

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Respondent Loreto Publications, Inc. appealed a circuit court order ruling that Loreto failed to establish that it was statutorily exempt from filing annual reports with the New Hampshire Attorney General’s Office, and requiring it to file reports for fiscal years 2010 to 2014. Loreto was a nonprofit corporation organized under RSA chapter 292. Its stated purpose was “the promotion, and propagation of the Roman Catholic religion through the publication, sale, or distribution of books, magazines, pamphlets or [tracts], and the use of any other communications media, whether electronic, audio, visual, printed, written or oral.” In or around 2003, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) granted Loreto a tax exemption under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. In 2008, the Charitable Trust Unit of the New Hampshire Attorney General’s Office learned that Loreto was operating as a 501(c)(3) tax exempt organization in New Hampshire and advised Loreto that New Hampshire law required it to register with and submit annual reports. In 2009, Loreto registered with the Charitable Trust Unit but did not file an annual report for fiscal year 2010 or any subsequent fiscal year. In 2013, Loreto’s 501(c)(3) status was “automatically revoked [by the IRS] for its failure to file a Form 990-series return or notice for three consecutive years.” The Interim Director of Charitable Trusts sought an order in the circuit court requiring Loreto to file its delinquent reports. Loreto moved to dismiss, arguing that “[s]ince [it] . . . is NOT a Charitable Trust, but rather a church/religious organization, [the] court lacks subject matter jurisdiction under [RSA 547:3, II(a)] to hear this matter.” The court denied the motion. Finding no reversible error in that denial, the New Hampshire Supreme Court affirmed. View "Attorney General, Director of Charitable Trusts v. Loreto Publications, Inc." on Justia Law

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Petitioner Thomas Todd, a Massachusetts resident, is a member of the New Hampshire Chapter of the Appalachian Mountain Club (AMC). He was a member of the AMC’s paddling committee since 1989 and was the committee’s co-chair in 2009 and 2010. Sally Leonard was also a member of the AMC’s paddling committee. In January 2014, Leonard filed a stalking petition against Todd, alleging Todd "hacked" her computer and broke her vehicle’s window after she had voiced her opinion at an AMC meeting that Todd should not be allowed to participate in a paddling committee event "due to his history of aggressive behavior toward females." Todd was insured under a homeowner’s insurance policy and an umbrella liability policy issued to him by Vermont Mutual Insurance Company. After the stalking petition was filed, Todd notified Vermont Mutual of the action and requested that it provide a defense under one or both of the policies. Vermont Mutual declined. The AMC was insured by Hanover Mutual Insurance Company under an employment practices liability (EPL) policy and a nonprofit directors, officers and organizations liability (D & O) policy. Todd informed the AMC of the stalking petition and requested that it notify Hanover to provide him with a defense. Hanover declined too. In March 2014, the Circuit Court ultimately found that Leonard “failed to sustain [her] burden of proof,” and, therefore, the court did not issue a restraining order against Todd. Todd incurred approximately $18,000 in attorney’s fees and costs in defending against the stalking petition. In June 2014, Todd filed this declaratory judgment proceeding, seeking a declaration that Vermont Mutual and Hanover owed a duty to defend him against the stalking petition and to reimburse him for the attorney’s fees and costs incurred in defending against the stalking petition. In addition, he sought attorney’s fees and costs for bringing the declaratory judgment proceeding. Todd appealed when cross-motions for summary judgment and summary judgment were granted favor of the insurance companies. Finding no reversible error, the Supreme Court affirmed the circuit court. View "Todd v. Vermont Mutual Insurance Co." on Justia Law