Arizona Supreme Court Decisions 2018

Conklin v. Medtronic, Inc.  
Date: December 18, 2018
Docket Number: CV-17-0322-PR

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court held that an Arizona common law failure-to-warn claim based on a medical device manufacturer’s failure to submit adverse event reports to the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is…

State v. Hedlund  
Date: December 10, 2018
Docket Numbers: CR-93-0362-AP, CR-93-0377-AP

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court affirmed Defendant’s sentence of death imposed in connection with his convictions for first-degree and second-degree murder, holding that the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals erred in finding that habeas…

Leach v. Reagan  
Date: December 6, 2018
Docket Number: CV-18-0205-AP/EL

Justia Opinion Summary: In this opinion, the Supreme Court explained its reasoning for its previously issued orders affirming the trial court’s rulings that the Proposition 127, Renewable Energy Standards Initiative qualified for the November…

Phoenix City Prosecutor v. Honorable Laura Lowery  
Date: December 3, 2018
Docket Number: CV-18-0101-PR

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court reversed the ruling of the municipal court that the anti-marital fact privilege precluded H.C. from testifying about Defendant’s driving under the influence (DUI) charges, holding that H.C. could…

Hopi Tribe v. Arizona Snowbowl Resort Limited Partnership  
Date: November 29, 2018
Docket Number: CV-18-0057-PR

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court affirmed the trial court’s judgment in favor of Arizona Snowbowl Resort Limited Partnership (Snowbowl) and the City of Flagstaff on the public nuisance claim brought by the Hopi Tribe, holding that…

Stanwitz v. Reagan  
Date: November 21, 2018
Docket Number: CV-18-0222-AP/EL

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court explained the reasons for its prior decision order disqualifying the “Stop Political Dirty Money Amendment” (the Initiative) from the November 2018 general election ballot, holding that Ariz. Rev. Stat.…

Hoffman v. Reagan  
Date: November 1, 2018
Docket Number: CV-18-0187-AP/EL

Justia Opinion Summary: In this opinion, the Supreme Court explained its ruling that House Concurrent Resolution 2007 (HCR 2007) does not violate the constitutional “single subject rule,” holding that because the two provisions of HCR 2007 are…

Molera v. Reagan  
Date: October 26, 2018
Docket Number: CV-18-0218-AP/EL

Justia Opinion Summary: In this opinion, the Supreme Court explained the reasons for its prior order disqualifying the “Invest in Education Act” initiative from the November 2018 election ballot, holding that the initiative’s description was…

State v. McKinney  
Date: September 27, 2018
Docket Number: CR-93-0362-AP

Justia Opinion Summary: After granting the State’s motion to conduct a new independent review of Defendant’s two death sentences, the Supreme Court affirmed the sentences, holding that there was no error in the trial court’s findings of…

State v. Valenzuela  
Date: September 25, 2018
Docket Number: CR-14-0351-AP

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court affirmed Defendant’s convictions of first degree murder, discharge of a firearm at a structure, and misconduct involving weapons and sentences of death for the murder and concurrent prison sentences for…

State v. Escalante  
Date: September 14, 2018
Docket Number: CR-17-0251-PR

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court reversed Defendant’s drug-related convictions and remanded the case for a new trial, holding that the admission and pervasive use of drug-courier profile evidence during Defendant's trial constituted…

Alma S. v. Department of Child Safety  
Date: September 14, 2018
Docket Number: CV-17-0363-PR

Justia Opinion Summary: In this termination of parental rights case, the Supreme Court held that juvenile courts must consider the totality of the circumstances existing at the time of a parental severance determination, including the child’s…

State v. Sanders  
Date: September 13, 2018
Docket Number: CR-14-0302-AP

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court affirmed Defendant’s convictions for first degree murder and child abuse and Defendant’s sentence of death, holding that there was no reversible error in the proceedings below. Specifically, the Court…

State v. Richter  
Date: August 24, 2018
Docket Number: CR-17-0452-PR

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court held that an abuser’s ongoing threats of harm over a three-month period may establish a “threat or use of immediate physical force” under Ariz. Rev. Stat. 13-412(A) supporting a defendant’s duress…

Ryan v. Napier  
Date: August 23, 2018
Docket Number: CV-17-0325-PR

Justia Opinion Summary: In this negligence action, the Supreme Court held that a negligence claim based solely on an officer’s intentional use of physical force is inappropriate. Rather, the appropriate state-law claim is for…

Glazer v. State  
Date: August 21, 2018
Docket Number: CV-17-0229-PR

Justia Opinion Summary: When asked to decide the rate at which interest on a $7.8 million judgment Plaintiff obtained against the State accrued pending appeal, the Supreme Court held that the interest rate prescribed by Ariz. Rev. Stat.…

State v. Bush  
Date: August 16, 2018
Docket Number: CR-11-0107-AP

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court affirmed Defendant’s convictions for two counts of first degree murder, attempted first degree murder, and other crimes and Defendant’s sentence of death for each murder, holding that no prejudicial…

Silver v. Pueblo Del Sol Water Co  
Date: August 9, 2018
Docket Number: CV-16-0294-PR

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court held that Ariz. Rev. Stat. 45-108 does not require the Arizona Department of Water Resources (ADWR) to consider unquantified federal reserved water rights when it determines whether a developer has an…

Twin City Fire Insurance Co. v. Leija  
Date: August 2, 2018
Docket Number: CV-17-0280-PR

Justia Opinion Summary: At issue in this workers’ compensation case was whether, when a worker settles a claim against a third party for less than the limits of the third party’s insurance, the worker may obtain a judicial determination of…

Mertola, LLC v. Santos  
Date: July 27, 2018
Docket Number: CV-17-0109-PR

Justia Opinion Summary: At issue was when the statute of limitations commences on credit card debt subject to an optional acceleration clause. The Supreme Court held that Mertola LLC’s lawsuit seeking to collect an outstanding credit card debt…

State v. Urrea  
Date: July 11, 2018
Docket Number: CR-17-0261-PR

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court affirmed Defendant’s conviction for transportation of a narcotic drug for sale, holding that the trial court’s remedy for a Batson violation of reinstating wrongfully excluded jurors to the venire was…

Kopp v. Physician Group of Arizona, Inc.  
Date: July 9, 2018
Docket Number: CV-17-0222-PR

Justia Opinion Summary: In this medical malpractice action, the Supreme Court held that a stipulated dismissal with prejudice of an agent-surgeon does not preclude a party from asserting a claim against the surgeon’s principal for its own…

Date: June 14, 2018
Docket Number: CV-17-0190-PR
Teufel v. American Family Mutual Insurance Co.  
Date: June 14, 2018
Docket Number: CV-17-0190-PR

Justia Opinion Summary: 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…

Friedman v. Roels  
Date: June 8, 2018
Docket Number: CV-17-0225-PR

Justia Opinion Summary: 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…

State v. Honorable Kevin Wein  
Date: May 25, 2018
Docket Number: CR-17-0221-PR

Justia Opinion Summary: 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…

BSI Holdings LLC v. Arizona Department of Transportation  
Date: May 24, 2018
Docket Number: CV-17-0241-PR

Justia Opinion Summary: 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…

State v. Maestas  
Date: May 23, 2018
Docket Number: CR-17-0193-PR

Justia Opinion Summary: 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,…

State v. Hernandez  
Date: May 18, 2018
Docket Number: CR-17-0325-PR

Justia Opinion Summary: 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…

Quiroz v. Alcoa Inc.  
Date: May 11, 2018
Docket Number: CV-16-0248-PR

Justia Opinion Summary: 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…

Moreno v. Honorable Nicole Brickner  
Date: May 2, 2018
Docket Number: CV-17-0193-SA

Justia Opinion Summary: 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…

State ex rel. Attorney General v. Maricopa County Community College District Board  
Date: May 1, 2018
Docket Number: CV-17-0215-PR

Justia Opinion Summary: 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…

Gonzalez v. Nguyen  
Date: April 12, 2018
Docket Number: CV-17-0117-PR

Justia Opinion Summary: A defendant need not submit additional evidence outside the existing record to establish a “meritorious defense” in a motion to set aside a default judgment under Ariz. R. Civ. P. 60(c) (now 60(b)), and a trial court has…

State v. Miles  
Date: April 10, 2018
Docket Number: CR-16-0021-PC

Justia Opinion Summary: Under Tison v. Arizona, 481 U.S. 137, 158 (1987), in determining if a defendant acted with “reckless indifference to human life” while he was a major participant in a felony, thus making him eligible for the death…

State v. Winegardner  
Date: March 26, 2018
Docket Number: CR-17-0269-PR

Justia Opinion Summary: Pursuant to Ariz. R. Evid. 609(a)(2), evidence of a shoplifting conviction is admissible to impeach a witness only when the court can readily determine that the conviction turned on proof of a dishonest act or false…

SolarCity Corp. v. Arizona Department of Revenue  
Date: March 16, 2018
Docket Number: CV-17-0231-PR

Justia Opinion Summary: The Arizona Department of Revenue (ADOR) is not authorized to value solar panels owned by SolarCity Corporation and Sunrun, Inc. (collectively, Taxpayers) and leased to residential and commercial property owners. For…

State v. Carson  
Date: February 27, 2018
Docket Number: CR-17-0116-PR

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court disavowed the approach of the state’s courts prohibiting a defendant from simultaneously claiming self-defense and asserting a misidentification defense, holding that if some evidence supports a finding…

Butler Law Firm, PLC v. Honorable Robert J. Higgins  
Date: February 22, 2018
Docket Number: CV-17-0119-PR

Justia Opinion Summary: The Superior Court of Navajo County erred when it denied Defendants’ motion for change of venue in this legal malpractice action filed by a Hospital located in Navajo County against a professional limited liability…

State v. Honorable Pamela S. Gates  
Date: February 16, 2018
Docket Number: CR-17-0326-PR

Justia Opinion Summary: At issue was the procedure for evaluating a capital defendant’s intellectual disability (ID) status before trial. Ariz. Rev. Stat. 13-753(B) provides that the trial court shall order a pretrial ID evaluation in every…

Brenda D. v. Department of Child Safety, Z.D.  
Date: February 9, 2018
Docket Number: CV-17-0136-PR

Justia Opinion Summary: At issue in this termination of parental rights proceeding was the procedure a juvenile court must follow if a parent fails to timely appear for a scheduled and duly-notice termination adjudication hearing. The Supreme…

KnightBrook Insurance Co. v. Payless Car Rental System Inc.  
Date: February 8, 2018
Docket Number: CV-17-0156-CQ

Justia Opinion Summary: Arizona equitable indemnity law does not incorporate the Restatement (First) of Restitution section 78 because it conflicts with Arizona’s general equitable indemnity principles. Michael Bovre rented a vehicle from…

State v. Francis  
Date: February 5, 2018
Docket Number: CR-17-0062-PR

Justia Opinion Summary: When a defendant possesses an item that is statutorily defined contraband, the State need prove only that the defendant knowingly possessed the item, not that the defendant knew it was contraband, to convict the…

Taylor v. Pandola  
Date: January 26, 2018
Docket Number: CV-16-0240-PR

Justia Opinion Summary: Arizona’s Uniform Interstate Family Support Act (AUIFSA), by its terms, allows an obligee to contest an obligor’s statement of child support arrears notwithstanding the obligee’s failure to request a hearing within…

Legacy Foundation Action Fund v. Citizens Clean Elections Commission  
Date: January 25, 2018
Docket Number: CV-16-0306-PR

Justia Opinion Summary: Ariz. Rev. Stat. 16-957(B)’s fourteen-day time limit for an appeal of a Citizens Clean Elections Commission penalty decision applies when the appellant challenges the Commission’s personal and subject-matter…

State v. Hulsey  
Date: January 18, 2018
Docket Number: CR-14-0291-AP

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the trial court convicting Defendant of the first degree murder of an on duty police officer and attempted first degree murder of another on duty peace officer but vacated…

Zubia v. Shapiro  
Date: January 12, 2018
Docket Number: CV-16-0255-PR

Justia Opinion Summary: A homeowner’s failure to obtain injunctive relief under Ariz. Rev. Stat. 33-811(C) before a trustee’s sale results in the waiver of the homeowner’s damages claims dependent on the validity of the sale. After a…

Arizona v. Jean  
Date: January 3, 2018
Docket Number: CR-16-0283-PR

Justia Opinion Summary: The Arizona Supreme Court affirmed the denial of defendant's motion to suppress and defendant's drug-related convictions and sentences. The court held that defendant was subjected to a warrantless search that violated…

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