Albemarle writer's lawsuit against the county moves forward

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ALBEMARLE COUNTY, Va. (CBS19 NEWS) -- A freelance writer will go to trial against Albemarle County because he claims the county is taxing him unfairly for his work.

John Hart filed the lawsuit in July.

An Albemarle County Circuit Court judge ruled on Wednesday that the suit can proceed against the county. The judge rejected the county's bid to it throw.

At issue is whether the county law is too vague in grouping the writer in a category where he is taxed in a way other journalistic outlets are not.

"The tax has an exemption for newspapers, magazines, other periodicals radio and television," said Attorney Renee Flaherty, who represents Hart.

Flaherty adds all journalists should be treated equally.

"If Hart were working for those businesses," she said, "he would not be taxed or if he were running one of those businesses he would not be taxed. But, because he was writing novels, he is subject to the tax."

Flaherty also says Hart is suing for two reasons. She says the law is unconstitutionally vague and the county's tax license also violates the First Amendment.

The case will proceed to discovery and a trial soon after that.

A Charlottesville resident and fellow writer is also suing the city for the same reasons.

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