Friday, November 21, 2008

Summary 2008 WY 138

Summary of Decision issued November 21, 2008

Summaries are prepared by Law Librarians and are not official statements of the Wyoming Supreme Court.

Case Name: State v. Hanover Compression, LP

Citation: 2008 WY 138

Docket Number: S-07-0264

W.R.A.P. 12.09(b) Certification from the District Court of Laramie County, the Honorable Nicholas G. Kalokathis, Judge

Representing Appellant State: Bruce A. Salzburg, Attorney General; Michael L. Hubbard, Deputy Attorney General: Martin L. Hardsocg, Senior Assistant Attorney General; William F. Russell, Senior Assistant Attorney General.

Representing Appellee Hanover: Nicole Crighton and Jesse R. Adams, III of Oreck, Crighton, Adams & Chase, LLC, Boulder, Colorado.

Facts/Discussion: The Wyoming Department of Revenue (Department) challenged the Board of Equalization (Board) determination that certain income received by Hanover Compression, LP (Hanover) for the operation and maintenance of compressor facilities were exempt from sales tax.
The Court considered the question of whether the compressor facilities maintained by Hanover fell within the definition of real property found in Wyo. Stat. Ann. § 39-15-101(a)(v). A Department audit revealed that Hanover had not been paying sales tax on the income received for its operation and maintenance of the Williams compressor facilities.

Statutory interpretation:
The Court compared the description of the compressor facilities to the plain meaning of the terms “structure” and “affixed.” It was clear the compressor facilities fit within the statutory definition of real property. The department did not dispute that the facilities were structures; rather they attempted to classify them as personal property by applying a common law analysis of fixtures. The Court gives effect to the plain and ordinary meaning of the words and will not utilize statutory construction when the statute is clear and unambiguous. As applied, the statute is plain and unambiguous and the Court found it unnecessary and inappropriate to look further than the language of the statute.
Board’s application of the statute:
The Department’s argument concerning the law of fixtures focuses on when goods or items of personal property become so related to particular real property that an interest in them arises under real property law. Applying a fixtures analysis would make the second sentence of § 39-15-101(a)(v) unnecessary and the Court will not give a statute a meaning that nullifies its operation if it is susceptible to another interpretation.

Holding: The Board’s interpretation of the statutory definition of real property found in Wyo. Stat. Ann. § 39-15-101(a)(v) is in accord with the law. Likewise the Board’s factual determination that the compressor facilities fit within that statutory definition is supported by substantial evidence.


C.J. Voigt delivered the decision.

Link: .

[SPECIAL NOTE: This opinion uses the "Universal Citation." It was given an "official" citation when it was issued. You should use this citation whenever you cite the opinion, with a P.3d parallel citation. Please note when you look at the opinion that all of the paragraphs are numbered. When you pinpoint cite to a quote, you should cite to this paragraph number rather than to any page number. If you need assistance in putting together a citation using the Universal Citation form, please contact the Wyoming State Law Library.]

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