Division One

Our Take on American Power Products, Inc. v. CSK Auto, Inc.

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.

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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.    

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New Division One Decision Regarding the Marital Community's Interest in a Lawyer's Professional Goodwill.

Division One is out with an important family law decision, Walsh v. Walsh, which will be of particular interest to lawyers and other professionals in Arizona. The court of appeals held that the family court erred by employing a "realizable benefits" standard in determining the value of husband's professional goodwill as a practicing lawyer. The family court had rejected wife's argument for a "capitalization of earnings" approach as requiring the court to engage in "mere speculation."

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Division One Expands Class of Cases Where Applicant Bears Burden of Proving Reasonableness.

Division One’s recent decision in Geller v. Lesk, --- P.3d --- 2012, 2012 WL 4364241 (App. Sept. 25, 2012), will be of interest not only to litigators but also to corporate counsel. It imposes limits on the enforcement of broadly drafted contractual fee-shifting provisions — and, for the first time in the context of provisions that contain no express reasonableness limitation, shifts the burden to the applicant to prove the  “reasonableness” of the fees.

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Jurisdictional Woes

Our friends at AZAPP have a good post about Fields v. Oates -- the latest in a long line of opinions out of our appellate courts to address appellate jurisdiction and the final judgment rule. Surprisingly, securing appellate jurisdiction has become one of the trickier issues for Arizona practitioners. 

More to come from us on this issue shortly.

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Decision Days

For Division One of the Arizona Court of Appeals, Tuesdays and Thursdays are decision days -- the days when the court releases opinions and memorandum decisions. Accordingly, each Tuesday and Thursday morning, many Arizona appellate lawyers go to the court's website to see which new decisions have come out...

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