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A policy exclusion for personal liability “under any contract or agreement” does not apply to relieve an insurer of its duty to defend its insured, an alleged builder-vendor, against a claim for negligent excavation brought by the home buyer because the negligence claim arose from the common law duty to construct the home as a reasonable builder would. After rockslides damaged his property, the home buyer sued the alleged builder-vendor, asserting breach of contract, negligence, and fraud-based claims and alleging that the rockslides were the result of improper excavation during construction. The builder-vendor’s insurer declined the tender of defense on grounds that there was no coverage under the relevant insurance policies. The builder-vendor sought damages and declaratory relief. The superior court granted summary judgment in favor of the insurer. The court of appeals reversed, concluding that the policy’s “contractual liability” exclusion did not apply. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the contractual liability exclusion did not relieve the insurer of its duty to defend the builder-vendor against the home buyer’s negligence claim. View "Teufel v. American Family Mutual Insurance Co." on Justia Law

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When two legal parents disagree about whether visitation is in their child’s best interests, both parents’ opinions are entitled to special weight under Ariz. Rev. Stat. 25-409(E). However, neither parent is entitled to a presumption in his or her favor, and the parents’ conflicting opinions must give way to the court’s finding on whether visitation is in the child’s best interests. At issue in this case was whether the family court abused its discretion in awarding Grandparents visitation after Mother and Father’s divorce. Mother objected to the visitation. The court of appeals affirmed, concluding that Father’s opinion on visitation, not only Mother’s, was entitled to special weight under section 25-409(E). The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) when two legal parents’ visitation opinions conflict, neither parent is entitled to a presumption in his or her favor, and neither opinion is entitled to special weight because the court’s determination of whether visitation is in the child’s best interests controls; and (2) the family court did not abuse its discretion in this case. View "Friedman v. Roels" on Justia Law

Posted in: Family Law

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Ariz. Const. art. II, 22(A)(1) and Ariz. Rev. Stat. 13-3961(A)(2), on their face, violate the Fourteenth Amendment’s Due Process Clause because the provisions categorically prohibit bail without regard for individual circumstances. The provisions at issue categorically prohibit bail for all persons charged with sexual assault if “the proof is evident or the presumption great” that the person committed the crime, without considering other facts that may justify bail in an individual case. In the instant case, Defendant with charged with sexual assault, and the superior court set his bail at $70,000. The court of appeals vacated the bail order, holding that sexual assault “remains a non-bailable offense.” The Supreme Court vacated the court of appeals’ opinion and affirmed the superior court, holding that courts must engage in an individualized determination by conducting a section 13-3961(D) hearing before denying bail to a person charged with sexual assault. View "State v. Honorable Kevin Wein" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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Ariz. Const. art. II, 22(A)(1) and Ariz. Rev. Stat. 13-3961(A)(2), on their face, violate the Fourteenth Amendment’s Due Process Clause because the provisions categorically prohibit bail without regard for individual circumstances. The provisions at issue categorically prohibit bail for all persons charged with sexual assault if “the proof is evident or the presumption great” that the person committed the crime, without considering other facts that may justify bail in an individual case. In the instant case, Defendant with charged with sexual assault, and the superior court set his bail at $70,000. The court of appeals vacated the bail order, holding that sexual assault “remains a non-bailable offense.” The Supreme Court vacated the court of appeals’ opinion and affirmed the superior court, holding that courts must engage in an individualized determination by conducting a section 13-3961(D) hearing before denying bail to a person charged with sexual assault. View "State v. Honorable Kevin Wein" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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At issue was the meaning of the term “day” as used in Ariz. Rev. Stat. 28-8336, which establishes a license tax for “a nonresident whose aircraft is based in this state for more than ninety days but less than two hundred ten days in a calendar year.” The court of appeals determined that “day” means “any calendar day during which the aircraft was on the ground in Arizona for any period of time.” The Supreme Court reversed and remanded the case to the tax court of further proceedings, holding (1) the meaning of “day” can ultimately be construed only in the context of the days an aircraft is “based in” the state; and (2) because the parties did not fully address, nor did the tax court decide, the meaning of the term “based in,” the issue cannot be fully resolved on the current record. View "BSI Holdings LLC v. Arizona Department of Transportation" on Justia Law

Posted in: Tax Law

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Ariz. Rev. Stat. 15-108(A), which makes it unlawful for a person, including a qualified Arizona Medical Marijuana Act (AMMA) cardholder, to possess or use marijuana on the campus of any public university, college, community college or postsecondary educational institution, violates Arizona’s Voter Protection Act (VPA) with respect to AMMA-compliant marijuana possession or use. Defendant, an AMMA cardholder, was convicted ofpossessing marijuana in his dormitory on the campus of Arizona State University. The Supreme Court vacated the conviction, holding (1) section 15-108(A) is unconstitutional under the VPA because the statute amends the AMMA by re-criminalizing AMMA cardholders’ marijuana possession on public college and university campuses; and (2) therefore, the statute is unconstitutional as applied to Defendant. View "State v. Maestas" on Justia Law

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Defendant’s rights under the Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution and article 2, section 8 of the Arizona Constitution were not violated when law enforcement officers followed Defendant’s vehicle onto a private driveway to complete a traffic stop that began on a public road. Defendant was found guilty of possession of marijuana, possession of drug paraphernalia, and transporting methamphetamine for sale. Defendant appealed the trial court’s denial of his motion to suppress evidence seized from him and his vehicle. The court of appeals affirmed. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the Constitution does not protect a driver that declines to stop on a public road and retreats onto private property; and (2) the officers’ actions in this case comported with Fourth Amendment standards because Defendant impliedly consented to the location of the stop where he led the officers in his vehicle. View "State v. Hernandez" on Justia Law

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An employer who used asbestos materials in its workplace before 1970 has no duty to protect the public from so-called secondary asbestos exposure, which is off-site contact with employees who may have been carrying asbestos fibers on their work clothes. Plaintiff sued Reynolds Metal Company and others, alleging that the defendants negligently caused Ernest Quiroz’s death. Specifically, Plaintiffs alleged that when Quiroz’s father was working at Reynolds’ plant, his clothes were contaminated with asbestos fibers and that Quiroz was exposed to the asbestos fibers, eventually causing Quiroz’s mesothelioma. The superior court granted summary judgment for Reynolds. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) Reynolds did not owe a duty to protect the decedent from exposure to take-home asbestos where no special relationship existed between Reynolds and the decedent, and no duty existed based on public policy; and (2) this Court rejects the duty framework contained in the Restatement (Third) of Torts: Liability for Physical and Emotional Harm, and therefore, no duty existed on that basis. View "Quiroz v. Alcoa Inc." on Justia Law

Posted in: Personal Injury

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On its face, Ariz. Const. art. II, 22(A)(2), the so-called On-Release provision, satisfies heightened scrutiny under the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. The On-Release provision precludes bail for felony offenses committed when the person charged is already admitted to bail on a separate felony charge and where “the proof is evident or the presumption great” as to the present charge. Defendant was arrested and held without bail pursuant to the On-Release provision. Defendant moved to modify his release conditions, arguing that the On-Release provision was facially invalid because it deprived him of constitutional right to a pre-detention individualized determination of future dangerousness. The superior court denied the motion. The Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of the On-Release provision and affirmed the superior court’s order denying Defendant bail, holding that the On-Release provision meets constitutional standards. View "Moreno v. Honorable Nicole Brickner" on Justia Law

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Students granted deferred removal action by the United States Department of Homeland Security (DHS) under its Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) policy are not eligible for in-state college tuition in Arizona. In 2013, the Arizona Attorney General filed this action seeking a determination that the Maricopa County Community College District Board’s (MCCCD) policy of accepting employment authorization documents (EADs) issued to DACA recipients by the DHS as evidence of residency for students to receive in-state tuition violated Arizona law. The Attorney General also sought an injunction prohibiting MCCCD from allowing DACA recipients to obtain the in-state tuition rates. Two DACA-recipient MCCCD students who receive in-state tuition intervened. The trial court granted summary judgment to MCCCD and the students, concluding that DACA recipients are “lawfully present” for purposes of eligibility for in-state tuition and are therefore eligible for in-state tuition benefits. The Supreme Court disagreed, holding that DACA recipients are not “lawfully present” for purposes of 8 U.S.C. 1623(a), which governs in-state tuition benefits, and therefore, DACA recipients are not eligible for in-state tuition. View "State ex rel. Attorney General v. Maricopa County Community College District Board" on Justia Law