Englehorn, et al. v. Stanton, et al., Maricopa County Superior Court, CV2017-001742
Arizona Supreme Court
On March 23, 2017, the Arizona Supreme Court, in a rare split decision authored by Vice Chief Justice John Pelander, changed Arizona law with respect to a litigant’s right to recover its reasonable attorney's fees under a contractual fee-shifting provision. The recipient of a favorable judgment in Arizona is no longer inevitably deemed to be the prevailing party under a contractual fee-shifting provision. Now there are additional considerations that go into the mix.
Time runs against the King, at least when it comes to contract-based claims against construction companies in Arizona.
Get Ya Final Judgment! Arizona Supreme Court Clarifies Rule 54(c)'s Certification of Finality Requirement by Amendment
Rule 54(c) as amended marks the end for a mistaken construction of the original rule’s certification of finality requirement—a construction that began to take root soon after the rule took effect three years ago. Given the importance of this clarification to an area of the law that presents more than its fair share of traps for the unwary, we ring in 2017 by addressing the amended rule here.
A law enacted by the Arizona Legislature and signed by Governor Ducey (A.R.S. § 41-194.01) withholds state revenues from municipalities that pass measures the state attorney general decides conflict with state law. Reportedly, the new law was targeted at Bisbee and Tucson after those cities adopted ordinances lawmakers did not favor. However, municipalities statewide are vulnerable.
Although Chief Justice Berch's commentary in the Arizona Republic does not expressly rebut the political charges leveled against Justice Pelander, it reaffirms the judiciary's commitment to impartiality in a time of polarization.
Arizona has an enviable merit selection process for our state appellate courts. Appellate court judges and supreme court justices are nominated through non-political special screening commissions that conduct public hearings, manage extensive professional and user surveys and background checks, and then send a list of three vetted nominees to the governor who appoints from that list. Each judge is up for a retention vote every six years. On the general election ballot, voters of Arizona in relevant districts are asked whether the judge should be retained -- and vote "yes" or "no."
Governor Brewer has appointed Division One Judge Ann Timmer to the Arizona Supreme Court. Although it has been noted by some that Timmer's appointment changes the court's composition to 4 Republicans and 1 Democrat, we think it is more notable that this brings to 3 the number of former Court of Appeals judges on the state's highest court. We suppose it is also noteworthy that Justice Timmer becomes the fourth woman appointed to the court. The previous three all ascended to the role of Chief Justice.