Can a City Attorney Be an Expert in an Excise Tax Dispute?

A Johnson County, Kansas jury found that a developer breached an indemnity agreement with Surety Company. The indemnity agreement was required to obtain a performance bond from Surety to ensure the payment of excise tax to the City for the development of a subdivision.  

On appeal, Developer contended that the district court erred in allowing the City Attorney to give her opinion as to legal matters when she testified at trial. It was undisputed that the attorney wasn’t designated as an expert witness. Instead, she was called as a fact witness to testify on the City’s claim for an excise tax that ultimately led to the execution of the performance bond and general agreement of indemnity. Specifically, Developer argued that the City Attorney rendered legal conclusions and testified about her interpretation of various contractual agreements. 

Read more at ForensisGroup.