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CAMPBELL v. UNITED STATES

UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE EASTERN DISTRICT OF PENNSYLVANIA


February 28, 1966

Joseph E. Campbell and Jean S. Campbell
v.
United States of America

Davis, District Judge.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: DAVIS

DAVIS, District Judge:

The plaintiffs, husband and wife, *fn1" have instituted this action pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1346 to recover certain income tax payments for the years 1960, 1961 and 1962, which they allege were erroneously collected due to the government's refusal to allow them to deduct expenditures for Law School tuition and books under § 162 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1954. The case was tried without a jury before our late brother, Judge Allan K. Grim, but has now been assigned to the undersigned for further proceedings. After a thorough review of the notes of testimony and the briefs and after consultation with the attorneys for both sides, I have concluded that the case can be decided on the basis of the record already made without the necessity of a new trial or further argument.

 Findings of Fact

 The husband plaintiff (hereinafter referred to as the plaintiff) is a physician who was graduated from Harvard Medical School in 1951; received a Master of Science Degree in Pathology from Ohio State University in 1956; and has been certified in Anatomical, Clinical, and Forensic pathology. Anatomical pathology is the study of tissues to determine the diseases present therein; clinical pathology is the study of disease through laboratory examination; and forensic pathology involves the use of the other two branches to investigate disease processes as affected by injury or death from unnatural causes.

 The taxpayer has been employed in a professional capacity in the office of the Examiner of the City of Philadelphia since 1956 except for a short interval when he was associated with the Coroner's Office in Cook County, Illinois. The Examiner's office in Philadelphia is quasi-judicial in character and is charged with the duty of investigating deaths which are of a sudden, violent or suspicious nature. It also has the powers of arrest and subpoena, may hold inquests, and under certain circumstances is charged with the duty of maintaining the valuables and effects of deceased owners.

 The taxpayer presently has the job classification of "Forensic Pathologist II", which makes him the first assistant to the Examiner himself. The 1960 bulletin published by the City of Philadelphia describes his job as follows:

 

"This is highly responsible forensic medical work assisting the (Medical) Examiner in the overall administration of the City's medico-legal investigative system and in his absence acting for him in the exercise of various legal functions.

 

"Work is performed with guidance from the (Medical) Examiner. Assignments are analytical in nature and are carried out in accordance with functional precedents, practices and policies. In the absence of the (Medical) Examiner the employee has primary responsibility for directing the activities of the City's medico-legal investigative system.

 

"[Forensic Pathologist II] consults with specialists in the field of chemistry, toxicology, bacteriology and immunology and with law enforcement officers in establishing evidence of a medico-legal nature.

 

"He trains subordinates in medico-legal work; gives talks to professional and lay groups on the City's medico-legal investigative system.

 

"He conducts inquests upon assignment by the Medical Examiner."

 Aside from this pamphlet, the testimony of the plaintiff and the depositions of various witnesses clearly bear out the fact that the plaintiff's position in the Examiner's office has important legal aspects to it. The pathologist is obviously confronted with crimes and their legal definitions; evidence questions; questions of decedent's estate especially when property is found on the body brought into the office; domestic relations' law; torts; and a number of others. Moreover, he must constantly be in touch with police officials and the District Attorney's office. The efficiency and effectiveness of this relationship certainly depends in large part on the extent of the pathologist's legal knowledge.

 The office has not had an attorney on its staff since 1960 although all the evidence indicates that many legal problems occur daily. While the Examiner has access to the City Solicitor's office, the latter is not organized so as to give the quick legal advice that is often needed.

 In 1956, while on the Examiner's staff, the plaintiff decided to attend law school at night because he found that he was greatly handicapped in his work from his lack of legal education. In 1958, he finally enrolled as a night student in Temple University Law School after receiving the full support of the Examiner himself. He had no intention of working for a degree and did not even register with the Pennsylvania State Board of Law Examiners as required of all law students preparing for admission to the Bar of the Supreme Court of the Commonwealth. As time went on, however, he resolved to take the full curriculum. He had come to realize that isolated courses would not give him the full and complete understanding of those legal principles necessary and relevant to his work as a forensic pathologist. Furthermore, certain courses could not be taken without a number of prerequisites. Thus, for example, evidence, which at Temple was a third year course, could not be scheduled unless a student had completed the first two years of the curriculum. After 4 1/2 years of attending law school at night, *fn2" he received his LLB Degree from Temple in February 1963.

 At the insistence of Temple, he had registered as a law student with the State Board of Law Examiners and upon receiving his degree, took the Pennsylvania Bar Examination, and passed. He was admitted to the Bar of the State Supreme Court, but has never had any intention of practicing law nor has he ever practiced. While his legal education was in no sense required of him to retain his position in the Examiner's office, he used his knowledge to aid him in performing his job more effectively and to maintain and improve his skills as a forensic pathologist. During the years, 1960, 1961 and 1962, he attempted to deduct the following items on his income tax returns but the Internal Revenue Service disallowed them. Total Expenses claimed as deductions Expenses of Law School but dis- Year Law Books Tuition Expenses allowed 1960 $ 87.50 $547.00 n3 $659.70 1961 100.77 700.00 800.77 1962 94.36 820.00 914.36

19660228

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