Dotson v US



Document Type

Case Brief

Publication Date



Taxpayers brought action to get refund from income and wage taxes paid on class action settlement award entered in litigation under Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA). The United States District Court for the Southern District of Texas, Samuel B. Kent, J., 876 F.Supp. 911, granted summary judgment to government, and taxpayers appealed. The Court of Appeals, Dennis, Circuit Judge, held that: (1) damages payable under settlement reached when broader recovery was believed available under ERISA qualified for personal injury exclusion to income tax, despite postsettlement clarification that tort-like damages were not available under ERISA, and (2) damages for loss in earning capacity were not subject to wage taxation under Federal Insurance Contributions Act (FICA) or Federal Unemployment Tax Act (FUTA). Vacated and remanded. Jerry E. Smith, Circuit Judge, Filed separate opinion concuring in part and dissenting in part. Procedural Posture(s): On Appeal; Motion for Summary Judgment.


United States Court of Appeals, Fifth Circuit


Jerry E. Smith, Circuit Judge, filed separate opinion concurring in part and dissenting in part.


Hon. William Lockhart Garwood, Hon. Jerry E. Smith, Hon. James L. Dennis


Stephen L. Hester, Washington, DC, K. Peter Schmidt, Arnold & Porter, Washington, DC, Roslyn M. Litman, Litman, Litman, Harris and Brown, Pittsburg, PA, John G. Jacobs, Plotkin and Jacobs, Chicago, IL, for Plaintiffs–Appellants. Gregory Scott Garland, Dallas, TX, Michael D. Powell, U.S. Department of Justice, Tax Division, Dallas, TX, Kenneth W. Rosenberg, Gary R. Allen, U.S. Department of Justice, Tax Division, Appellate Section, Washington, DC, for Defendant–Appellee.

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