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Hogaboom v. Trevor

Supreme Court of Vermont

February 21, 2014

Loren and Kathryn Hogaboom
v.
Trevor Jenkins
v.
Town of Milton

Page 132

Editorial Note:

This Opinion is subject to motion for reargument or formal revision before publication. See V.R.A.P. 40

On appeal from Superior Court, Chittenden Unit, Civil Division. Geoffrey W. Crawford, J.

Grant C. Rees, Milton, for Plaintiffs-Appellants.

Ebenezer Punderson of Deppman & Foley, P.C., Middlebury, for Defendant-Appellee Jenkins.

Present: Reiber, C.J., Dooley, Skoglund, Burgess and Robinson, JJ.

OPINION

Page 133

Robinson, J.

[¶1] The question in this case is whether a town violated a taxpayer's due process rights by conducting a tax sale of the delinquent taxpayer's real property after registered mail notifying the taxpayer of the impending tax sale was returned undelivered. The Chittenden Superior Court, Civil Division held that it did. We affirm.

[¶2] We assume the following facts, which are undisputed unless otherwise noted. Appellee taxpayer, Trevor Jenkins, has at all times relevant to these proceedings owned and lived on property at 480 East Road in the Town of Milton. Taxpayer failed to pay property taxes for the 2007-2008 and 2008-2009 tax years. The Town mailed him three delinquent tax notices, in June 2008, June 2009, and January 2010, respectively, advising him to take additional steps to avoid a tax sale.

[¶3] On March 4, 2010, the Town sent taxpayer a " Tax Sale Notice" indicating that the " Delinquent Tax Collector [had] submitted [taxpayer's] account(s) for tax sale." The notice listed the amount due on his account, including the delinquency itself; interest calculated at a rate of one percent on the delinquency; and other charges not listed on prior notices, including postage, publication, warrant, recording, and over $600 in attorney's fees. The notice included a calculation of interest on the delinquency due through April 6, 2010, with no explanation of the significance of that date. This notice did not contain information regarding the date or location of the anticipated tax sale.

[¶4] These notices were sent to taxpayer by first-class mail. Taxpayer denies receiving them, and the Town states that the notices were not returned to the Town.

[¶5] On March 8, 2010, the Town's attorney sent taxpayer a " Notice of Tax Sale" by registered mail, return receipt requested. This notice did contain details of the tax sale, indicating that the sale would take place on April 6, 2010 and providing the exact time and location. On March 24, 2010, nearly two weeks before the tax sale, the notice sent to taxpayer by registered mail ...


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