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The Supreme Court remanded this case to the superior court to grant Defendant’s motion to dismiss on the basis that issue preclusion prevented the State from relitigating whether Defendant had abused his infant child, holding that issue preclusion may apply in a criminal proceeding when an issue of fact was previously adjudicated in a dependency proceeding and the other elements of preclusion are met. The Department of Child Safety (DCS) filed a dependency petition alleging that C.C. was dependent as to Defendant because he abusively shook her to the point of causing bleeding in her eyes and brain. While the dependency hearing was ongoing, the State charged Defendant with one count of child abuse. The juvenile court subsequently dismissed the dependency proceeding, ruling that DCS had not met its burden of proving that Defendant inflicted physical injury on C.C. Defendant then moved to discuss the criminal proceeding. The trial judge denied the motion. The court of appeals affirmed. The Supreme Court vacated the opinion of the court of appeals and remanded for dismissal of the criminal charge, holding that, under the circumstances, the State could not force Defendant to relitigate the same issue. View "Crosby-Garbotz v. Honorable Howard P. Fell" on Justia Law

Posted in: Family Law

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The Supreme Court vacated a potion of the court of appeals’ opinion and affirmed the family court’s order giving Father final legal decision-making authority over certain issues regarding the parties' child, holding that the words “final” and “sole” have different meanings in the context of a family court’s award of joint legal decision-making that gives one parent final legal decision-making authority over certain matters. The court of appeals determined that an award of joint legal decision-making that gives authority to one parent is, in essence, an award of sole legal decision-making. The Supreme Court disagreed, holding that joint legal decision-making with final decision-making authority and sole legal decision-making authority are separate and distinct categories. View "Nicaise v. Sundaram" on Justia Law

Posted in: Family Law

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At issue was whether Arizona’s automatic assignment provision in Ariz. Rev. Stat. 23-1023(B) applies when an employee receives workers’ compensation benefits under another state’s laws. The Supreme Court held that the law of the state in which the employee’s workers’ compensation is paid determines the assignment rights of the employer and employee, thus reversing the superior court’s grant of summary judgment in favor of the third-party tortfeasor in this case. Plaintiff, a South Carolina resident, was employed as a semi-trick driver with a Nebraska limited liability company, which, in turn, contracted with Defendant, an Arizona company, to provide training for Plaintiff in Arizona. Plaintiff was a passenger in a semi-truck driving by Defendant’s employee was the truck rolled, injuring Plaintiff. Plaintiff received workers’ compensation in Nebraska paid for by the LLC. Plaintiff then filed this personal injury action against Defendant. The Supreme Court granted summary judgment in favor of Defendant, concluding that, pursuant to section 23-1023(B), Plaintiff had no legal interest in the action. The Supreme Court reversed, holding (1) because Plaintiff received workers’ compensation benefits in Nebraska, Nebraska’s law regarding assignment applied to her claims against Defendant in this action; and (2) because Nebraska does not have an automatic assignment provision, Plaintiff had a legal interest in those claims. View "Jackson v. Eagle KMC LLC" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court held that an Arizona common law failure-to-warn claim based on a medical device manufacturer’s failure to submit adverse event reports to the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is impliedly preempted. Plaintiff and his wife sued Defendant alleging several common law tort claims, including strict liability and negligence claims for failure to provide adequate and timely warnings. Defendant moved to dismiss under Ariz. R. Civ. P. 12(6)(b), asserting that Plaintiff’s claims were expressly and impliedly preempted under federal law. The superior court granted the motion and dismissed the action with prejudice. The court of appeals vacated the dismissal of Plaintiff’s failure-to-warn claim, finding it neither expressly nor impliedly preempted, and otherwise affirmed. The Supreme Court disagreed with the court of appeals and affirmed the superior court’s judgment, holding that because only federal law, not state law, imposes a duty on Defendant to submit adverse event reports to the FDA, Plaintiff’s failure-to-warn claim was impliedly preempted under 21 U.S.C. 337(a). View "Conklin v. Medtronic, Inc." on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed Defendant’s sentence of death imposed in connection with his convictions for first-degree and second-degree murder, holding that the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals erred in finding that habeas relief was warranted in this case. The Ninth Circuit remanded the case to federal district court with instructions to grant a writ of habeas corpus, holding that the Supreme Court erred in its independent review of the death sentence when considering Defendant’s mitigation evidence. The Supreme Court granted the State’s motion to conduct a new independent review and affirmed the death sentence, holding that the mitigating evidence was not substantial enough to call for leniency in light of the commission of a murder for pecuniary gain. View "State v. Hedlund" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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In this opinion, the Supreme Court explained its reasoning for its previously issued orders affirming the trial court’s rulings that the Proposition 127, Renewable Energy Standards Initiative qualified for the November 2018 ballot. At issue was a political action committee’s (Committee) organization formation, the adequacy of the title of the Initiative, and whether the trial court erred in finding a sufficient number of valid petition signatures to support placement of Proposition 127 on the ballot. The Supreme Court held (1) Plaintiffs may not contest the validity of the Initiative based on the statement of the Committee’s alleged non-compliance with Ariz. Rev. Stat. 16-906(B); (2) the Initiative’s title was legally sufficient; and (3) the trial court’s finding that there were a sufficient number of signatures required to place the Initiative on the ballot was not in error. View "Leach v. Reagan" on Justia Law

Posted in: Election Law

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The Supreme Court reversed the ruling of the municipal court that the anti-marital fact privilege precluded H.C. from testifying about Defendant’s driving under the influence (DUI) charges, holding that H.C. could testify about the DUI charges under the crime exception to the anti-marital fact privilege. Ariz. Rev. Stat. 13-4062(1). Defendant was charged with criminal damage, domestic violence, and three counts of DUI. Defendant successfully moved to preclude H.C. from testifying about the DUI charges and to sever those charges from the criminal damage charge based on the anti-marital fact privilege. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that when a defendant is charged for committing a crime against his or her spouse, the crime exception to the anti-marital fact privilege allows the witness-spouse to testify regarding not only that charge but also any charges arising from the same unitary event. View "Phoenix City Prosecutor v. Honorable Laura Lowery" on Justia Law

Posted in: Family Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the trial court’s judgment in favor of Arizona Snowbowl Resort Limited Partnership (Snowbowl) and the City of Flagstaff on the public nuisance claim brought by the Hopi Tribe, holding that environmental damage to public land with religious, cultural or emotional significance to the plaintiff is not special injury for purposes of the public nuisance doctrine. The Tribe brought a claim of public nuisance based on Snowbowl's use of reclaimed wastewater for snowmaking on Northern Arizona’s San Francisco Peaks. At issue was whether the Hopi sufficiently alleged a “special injury” for an actionable public nuisance claim. The Tribe alleged that it would suffer special injury by the interference with the Tribe’s cultural use of the public wilderness for religious and ceremonial purposes. The trial court ruled that the Tribe failed to satisfy the special injury requirement on the basis of religious or cultural practices. The Supreme Court agreed, holding that while the Tribe sufficiently alleged that the use of reclaimed wastewater on the San Francisco Peaks constituted a public nuisance the Tribe failed to articulate any harm beyond that suffered by the general public. View "Hopi Tribe v. Arizona Snowbowl Resort Limited Partnership" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court explained the reasons for its prior decision order disqualifying the “Stop Political Dirty Money Amendment” (the Initiative) from the November 2018 general election ballot, holding that Ariz. Rev. Stat. 19-118(C), which invalidates any petition signatures obtained by a registered circulator subpoenaed in an election challenge who fails to appear for trial, is constitutional. After the Outlaw Dirty Money political committee (Committee) filed signature petitions with the Secretary of State to qualify the Initiative for the November 2018 ballot, Petitioners filed a complaint pursuant to Ariz. Rev. Stat. 19-118(D) challenging the validity of certain petitions based on objections to petition circulators. Later, the Committee filed a complaint claiming that the Secretary erroneously removed certain petition sheets and signatures during her review and subpoenaed fifteen circulators requiring their appearance at an evidentiary hearing. None of the subpoenaed circulators appeared at the hearing. The trial court subsequently disqualified the non-appearing subpoenaed circulators’ petition signatures, a ruling that rendered the Initiative ineligible for the November 2018 ballot. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) section 19-118 fosters the integrity of the initiative process and does so by reasonable means; and (2) therefore, section 19-118(C)’s disqualification provision is constitutional on its face and as applied. View "Stanwitz v. Reagan" on Justia Law

Posted in: Election Law

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In this opinion, the Supreme Court explained its ruling that House Concurrent Resolution 2007 (HCR 2007) does not violate the constitutional “single subject rule,” holding that because the two provisions of HCR 2007 are reasonably related to one general subject, the measure satisfies the single subject rule. Challengers filed suit requesting the trial court to enjoin the Secretary of State from placing HCR 2007 on the ballot, alleging that the measure violated the single subject rule contained in Ariz. Const. art. IV, part 2. Relying on Arizona Chamber of Commerce & Industry v. Kiley, 242 Ariz. 533 (2017), the trial court concluded that the rule does not apply to HCR 2007. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) measures referred to the people by the legislature are “acts” subject to the single subject rule; and (2) HCR 2007 satisfied the single subject rule. View "Hoffman v. Reagan" on Justia Law