CVS lawsuit against Hillsboro county will soon go to trial

By Pankaj Ladhar of Manos • Alwine P.L.

In a Florida lawsuit, the major drug store CVS is asking for $2.5 Million in returned property taxes. It has taken nearly four years for the case to reach the courts, but CVS wants all property appraisals reviewed again between the years of 2005 and 2010. The company claims that the property appraiser over-valued each of the 35 stores in the county by 10 to 15 percent each.

The defendants in the case include the Property Appraiser, the State Department of Revenue, and the Hillsboro County Value Adjustment Board. Attorneys representing these defendants are expected to argue that the reason these 35 stores should pay more in property taxes is because of a stipulation in the sales contracts of all 35 stores that CVS put in. This stipulation says that if one of the stores closes, it cannot be replaced by another drug store. Defendants argue that this devalues the property, saying that these types of structures and lots are developed specifically for that kind of business.
In retaliation to these claims, attorneys representing CVS argue that their stipulation will not create a situation where the county will miss a business opportunity. According to one lawyer representing CVS, “You could sell it to Walgreens and Walgreens would pay you more for it.” The lawyer continued, saying “That’s not true because Walgreens is already there. Wherever there’s a CVS, there’s a Walgreens nearby.”

Both sides of the case say that similar issues to this have come up before, but that they were not at this level, and not this sophisticated. There will be a preliminary meeting on Aug. 3 to start deciding on a trial date.

Source: The Tampa Bay Tribune “CVS challenges way Hillsborough appraised properties” Mike Salinero, July 23, 2011