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Worldwide Equipment of IN, Inc., v. United States of America

Area of Law:

Federal Tax Code; exemptions. The plaintiff sought to recover federal excise taxes on the trucks it sold. The government argued that the trucks at issue are not “off-highway” vehicles under 26 U.S.C. § 7701(a)(48) and, therefore, not exempt from the federal retail excise tax imposed by 26 U.S.C. § 4051(a).

Grounds:

Plaintiff filed a motion to exclude the testimony of the government’s experts that the trucks at issue are not “off-highway” vehicles.

Outcome:

Denied without prejudice.

Analysis:

The court noted that because this would be a bench trial, the usual concerns about shielding the jury from unreliable expert testimony would not arise. Moreover, at the summary judgment stage, the Daubert test has to be employed with great care. Although this court would routinely hold a Daubert hearing before trial, plaintiff had stated that it did not want such a hearing. Therefore, without an analysis of the merits, the court denied the Daubert motion without prejudice and invited plaintiff to reassert that motion during trial.