Hemenway & Barnes Successfully Challenges the Constitutionality of Pittsburgh’s “Jock Tax”

September 28, 2022

Judge Christine Ward, Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County has struck down Pittsburgh’s Sports Facility Usage Fee as an unconstitutional tax. Hemenway & Barnes represented three individual plaintiffs who had been subjected to the Fee as well as the Major League Baseball Players Association, National Hockey League Players Association and National Football League Players Association in the lawsuit challenging Pittsburgh’s income tax on professional athletes.

The Associations argued that the Fee violated the Uniformity Clause of the Pennsylvania Constitution and Judge Ward agreed.

In the decision, Judge Ward said, “The Facility Fee is a tax in function, and therefore is governed by the Pennsylvania and United States laws concerning tax. The Facility Fee presents a discriminatory burden on out-of-state residents, with no like tax levied upon Pittsburgh residents.”

Hemenway & Barnes has successfully challenged the constitutionality of similar taxes in other jurisdictions around the country, including most recently the City of Cleveland and the State of Tennessee.

Read the full decision: National Hockey League Players Association et al. v. City of Pittsburgh

Hemenway & Barnes attorneys included: Stephen W. Kidder, M. Patrick Moore, Ryan P. McManus, Kevin M. Ellis, Jennifer Grace Miller, Meaghan Borys, Clinton R. Prospere and Michael E. Porter.

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Stephen W. Kidder

Stephen W. Kidder concentrates his practice in the areas of taxation and professional fiduciary services. Mr. Kidder counsels a number of New England’s leading nonprofit organizations in the areas of governance, regulatory and compliance issues. In addition, he serves as a private fiduciary for many family trusts. Mr. Kidder represents major professional sports players associations nationally on both state and local tax issues.