Glazer v. StateAnnotate this Case
In 2007, the driver of a vehicle heading eastbound on Interstate 10 lost control of her vehicle, which crossed through a dirt median into the westbound lanes, and crashed into Plaintiff’s vehicle, killing Plaintiff’s husband and daughter and seriously injuring Plaintiff. Plaintiff sued the State for failing to install a median barrier in the area of the accident. The State moved for summary judgment based on Ariz. Rev. Stat. 12-820.03, which provides public entities a “state of the art” affirmative defense against claims for injuries arising out of a plan or design for construction of a roadway. The trial court denied the motion, ruling that section 12-820.03 did not apply because Plaintiff did not allege that I-10 was unsafe when it was designed in 1967 but that the circumstances in 2007 rendered this portion of the interstate unreasonably unsafe. The court subsequently denied the State’s motion for judgment as a matter of law, which again asserted section 12-820.03’s affirmative defense. The jury found in favor of Plaintiff. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the affirmative defense in section 12-820.03 remains available even if material changes to travel have rendered the roadway substandard; but (2) the State failed to establish every element of the defense in this case.