Monday, January 6, 2014

Wenner v. Dayton-Hudson Corp. case brief

Wenner v. Dayton-Hudson Corp. case brief summary
598 P.2d 1022 (1979)

Appellant city sought review of the judgment of the Superior Court of Maricopa County (Arizona) that entered judgment in favor of appellee corporation in a tax dispute.

The trial court determined that the income received by the corporation from certain agreements with retailers was not taxable under the Phoenix City Code. The agreement entered into by the corporation granted the retailer the exclusive right to operate a particular type of department within the corporation's store, and the retailer was allowed to conduct only that type of business within the store. Income derived from these agreements was assessed a one percent tax by the city. The city contended that the agreement between the corporation and the retailer was a lease and not a license.


  • The court determined that there was every indication that the parties had intended to create a licensor-licensee relationship in the agreement at issue.
  • The court concluded that, as a matter of law, the agreement between the corporation and its merchant retailers did not rise to the level of a leasehold interest, but was a mere license. 
  • The court determined that the privilege tax was not applicable because the agreement at issue only allowed the merchant retailers the personal privilege of being on and doing business on the corporation's property without being treated as trespassers.

The court affirmed the judgment of the trial court, which was entered in favor of the corporation.

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