Big Diamond entertainment tax lawsuit dismissed
FORESTVILLE - A Schuylkill County judge has dismissed a lawsuit filed by Big Diamond Speedway against Cass Township and its supervisors.
In a one-page order filed April 17, Judge Cyrus Palmer Dolbin dismissed the lawsuit, sustaining preliminary objections filed by the township and its supervisors.
The township and its supervisors showed the racetrack and its owners, Frederick and Krista Roehrig, of Minersville, had no chance of proving their claims, according to Dolbin.
The township and supervisors Michael Kulpcavage, James D. Thomas and John W. Walaitis successfully argued they are immune from the claims and from paying punitive damages, statements made about the Roehrigs are true and therefore cannot be defamatory and no evidence showed any conspiracy by anyone against the Roehrigs.
The township, its supervisors and the racetrack have battled for years over the township's amusement tax.
On March 29, 2012, the township adopted a new ordinance imposing a 10 percent tax on admission fees and requiring participants to pay the tax. On July 26, 2012, it adopted an amendment imposing the responsibility for payment of the tax on the owners and operators of the facility instead of the patrons.
The Roehrigs and their company, Big Diamond Speedway LLC, filed their complaint July 8, 2013, asking for unspecified monetary damages in excess of $50,000, plus attorney fees, costs and punitive damages, and demanded a jury trial of the case.
They had alleged the township's doubling of the tax violated state law, Thomas had libeled them by saying they had not paid the taxes, the township used intimidation and aggressive law enforcement to reduce attendance and participation at races, and the township has sent representatives to the racetrack without consent under the pretense of counting the number of people attending events.