Do I not have some legal recourse to collect damages from the County for flouting the law even after a clear ruling from the Court.
A: Damages come in two basic flavors: compensatory, which is the recovery that makes the plaintiff whole for his/her injuries, and punitive, which is the means by which a defendant is discouraged from future wrongful action. Compensatory damages would be a refund of the taxes, interest
and penalities unlawfully paid, and reasonable attorney's fees and costs, if allowed by statute. Punitive damages against the government
would require proof of willful and malicious acts by a specific person or persons, undertaking within the scope of government authority. This is nearly impossible to obtain, because the government can almost always successfully argue that either its actions were not willful or malicious, or that the acts of the individual
were outside the scope of their lawful authority -- so, you would have to sue them as an individual to collect punitive damages (and the individual may not have the money to pay a judgment, leaving you as having wasted your time).Is there any legal basis for the County position that it cannot restore the " Home Exemption" and redress the illegalities without a judgment?
A: Property tax protests generally must be made separately for each year where an error is alleged (on or before Jan 15, based upon the county assessment previously sent on or before Dec 15), and failure to do so, operates as a bar to recovery. So, without your having challenged the county during each tax year, there could be no recovery on any exemption.
Note: The fact that the county is offering a stipulated judgment suggests that it may view a risk of substanital loss if you proceed with the case. However, it could also be simply a means of reducing the litigation cost of defending the case.
Your circumtances are extremely complex. I would need to review the entire case file to be more specific. And, that's out of scope for this forum.
Hope this helps.
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