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Granville v. Howard

Court of Appeals of Arizona, First Division

September 30, 2014

JOHN GRANVILLE, Plaintiff/Appellee/Cross-Appellant,
v.
VINCE LEROY HOWARD and JANE DOE HOWARD, husband and wife, Defendants/Appellants/Cross-Appellees

Appeal from the Superior Court in Maricopa County. No. CV 2008-53833. The Honorable Colleen L. French, Judge Pro Tem.

Knapp & Roberts, P.C., Scottsdale, By David L. Abney, Counsel for Plaintiff/Appellee/Cross-Appellant.

DeCiancio Robbins, P.L.C., Tempe, By Joel DeCiancio, Christopher Robbins, Counsel for Defendants/Appellants/Cross-Appellees.

Judge Margaret H. Downie delivered the opinion of the Court, in which Presiding Judge Kenton D. Jones and Judge Donn Kessler joined.

[236 Ariz. 30] OPINION

Page 552

Margaret H. Downie, Judge:

[¶1] Vince Leroy Howard appeals from a judgment awarding John Granville $72,000 in attorneys' fees under Arizona Rule of Civil Procedure 77(f) (judgment after trial de novo from arbitration appeal). Granville cross-appeals, arguing the superior court erred by not awarding him the full amount of fees he requested. In this opinion, we set forth several non-exclusive factors that trial courts should consider when awarding fees under Rule 77(f). We vacate the fee award entered in this matter and remand for reconsideration based on the factors stated herein.

FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

[¶2] Howard's car struck Granville's truck at a low rate of speed. Granville was diagnosed with soft tissue injuries and received chiropractic treatment at a cost of $4745.05. Granville sued Howard for negligence. Because the amount in controversy did not exceed $50,000, the case was referred to compulsory arbitration. The arbitrator awarded Granville $6719.45, which included $4745.05 in damages, $1163.90 in costs, and $810.50 in Rule 68 sanctions. Howard filed a notice of appeal. See Rule 77(a). After a trial de novo in superior court, jurors found in favor of Howard. The superior court entered judgment against Granville for $17,885.50, which included taxable costs, Rule 68 sanctions, and expert witness fees. Granville appealed.

[¶3] In Granville v. Howard (" Granville I" ), 1 CA-CV 11-0133, 2012 WL 504197, at *6-7, ¶ ¶ 25, 30 (Ariz. App. Feb. 16, 2012) (mem. decision), this Court reversed the defense verdict in favor of Howard and remanded for a new trial. Id. at *7, ¶ 30. On remand, the second jury returned a verdict for Granville, setting his damages at $918.50. After extensive briefing, the superior [236 Ariz. 31] court

Page 553

entered judgment against Howard for $86,646.40, which included the jury's damages award; $5950.65 in taxable costs; $5027.25 in Rule 68 sanctions; $2750 in expert witness fees; and $72,000 in attorneys' fees.

[¶4] Howard timely appealed, and Granville filed a timely cross-appeal. We have jurisdiction pursuant to Arizona Revised Statutes (" A.R.S." ) sections ...


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