Justia Arizona Supreme Court Opinion Summaries

Articles Posted in Arbitration & Mediation
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In this case concerning the interaction between Ariz. Rev. Stat. 12-133, a compulsory arbitration statute, and the Fast Trial and Alternative Resolution (FASTAR) Pilot Program the Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the trial court denying Petitioner's motion for arbitration, holding that there was no conflict between the statute and this Court's orders and rules establishing FASTAR.Plaintiff filed a complaint seeking damages against the Tucson Police Department. Plaintiff filed a certificate of compulsory arbitration under section 12-133. Plaintiff filed a motion asking the court to order section 12-133 arbitration, asserting that FASTAR was unconstitutional as applied to her because it denied her right to a trial de novo and appeal following arbitration. The trial court denied the motion and concluded that Plaintiff was not entitled to section 12-133 arbitration. The court of appeals affirmed. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that no conflict exists between section 12-133 and the FASTAR rules. View "Duff v. Honorable Kenneth Lee" on Justia Law

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In this employment dispute, Employee filed an action in superior court alleging an unjust enrichment claim against Employee. Employee moved to compel arbitration under the parties’ employment contract’s arbitration provision and brought a claim for severance pay. The superior court granted the motion. Employer asserted various counterclaims. The arbitrator ruled in favor of Employer, finding that Employer properly rescinded the contract based on Employee’s underlying misrepresentations and omissions. The final arbitration award fully settled all claims and counterclaims submitted. The superior court confirmed the award but also granted Employer leave to amend its complaint to reassert its counterclaims. The superior court granted Employer’s motion to amend its complaint. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that Employer, having not specifically challenged the contract’s arbitration provision, may not amend its complaint and litigate its various claims against Employee in this action. View "Hamblen v. Honorable Ralph Hatch" on Justia Law

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Petitioners sued Respondents. Respondents, represented by counsel, made a settlement offer. The offer subsequently expired. Respondents’ counsel later extended a new settlement offer with terms that mirrored the prior offer. Petitioners’ attorney timely accepted the offer, and the trial court accepted the settlement (February 8 settlement). After Respondents’ attorney learned that he lacked authority to extend the settlement offer, he made a new settlement offer, which materially varied from the February 8 settlement. Petitioners moved to enforce the February 8 settlement. The trial court granted the motion, concluding that Respondents’ attorney had actual and apparent authority to extend the settlement offer and, alternatively, that Respondents were equitably estopped from disputing that authority. The court of appeals reversed, concluding that because Respondents’ assent to the agreement was not in writing, the requirements of Ariz. R. Civ. P. 80(d) were not met, and the agreement was unenforceable as a matter of law. The Supreme Court reversed, holding (1) because the parties in this case did not dispute the existence and terms of the February 8 settlement, Rule 80(d) did not apply; (2) even if Rule 80(d) applied, the agreement satisfied the rule; and (3) the agreement was enforceable because the attorney acted within the apparent authority given by his clients. View "Robertson v. Alling" on Justia Law

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The Moras sued Pauline Cosper for damages arising from a car accident. After mandatory arbitration, the arbitrator entered an award in favor of the Moras. The next day, Cosper filed a notice of appeal seeking a trial de novo and a list of witnesses and exhibits. Approximately two months later, Cosper filed a supplemental witness list designating an expert and disclosing her report. The superior court struck the supplemental disclosures as untimely, noting that Cosper had not attempted to show good cause for the later disclosure under Ariz. R. Civ. P. 77. The court of appeals granted relief, holding that Rule 77 permits supplemental disclosure within eighty days after the filing of an appeal from compulsory arbitration without requiring that parties show good cause. The Supreme Court vacated the court of appeals and affirmed the superior court, holding that Rule 77(g)(1) requires that those appealing from arbitration awards simultaneously with the filing of the appeal file a list of witnesses and exhibits intended to be used at trial, and this list can only be supplemented for good cause under Rule 77(g)(4). View "Cosper v. Superior Court" on Justia Law