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Phillips v. Garcia

Court of Appeals of Arizona, First Division

June 9, 2015

ROBERT PHILLIPS, Plaintiff/Appellee,
v.
CRAIG E. GARCIA, Defendant/Appellant

Editorial Note:

This decision may not be cited except as authorized by applicable rules. See Ariz. R. Supreme Court 111(c); ARCAP 28(c); Ariz. R. Crim. P. 31.24

Page 1106

Not for Publication Rule 111, Rules of the Supreme Court

Appeal from the Superior Court in Maricopa County. No. CV2012-090337. The Honorable David King Udall, Judge.

SPECIAL ACTION JURISDICTION ACCEPTED, RELIEF GRANTED.

Stein and Stein, P.C., Mesa, By Henry M. Stein, Co-Counsel for Defendant/Appellant.

Law Office of Dennis A. Sever, PLLC, Mesa, By Dennis A. Sever, Co-Counsel for Defendant/Appellant.

Slack-Mé ndez Law Firm, Tempe, By Charles J. Slack-Mé ndez, Counsel for Plaintiff/Appellee.

Presiding Judge John C. Gemmill delivered the opinion of the Court, in which Judge Kenton D. Jones and Judge Donn Kessler joined.

OPINION

Page 1107

GEMMILL, Judge:

[¶1] In this opinion we address an aspect of the procedure established by the Arizona Rules of Civil Procedure for entry of an award and judgment after a superior court arbitration. Defendant Craig E. Garcia appeals the superior court's denial of his motion to dismiss the arbitrator's award. We conclude that we lack appellate jurisdiction, but in our discretion we exercise special action jurisdiction and grant relief by ordering dismissal of the action without prejudice.

PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

[¶2] In January 2012, Plaintiff Robert Phillips filed a complaint against Garcia in Maricopa County Superior Court alleging breach of contract, breach of the implied duty of good faith and fair dealing, and fraud/misrepresentation. The superior court ordered that the case was subject to compulsory arbitration and appointed an attorney as arbitrator. The matter was arbitrated in December 2012 and the arbitrator issued a ruling that was filed with the court on January 3, 2013. Phillips's counsel prepared and submitted to the arbitrator a document entitled " Judgment" (hereinafter " the Judgment" ). The arbitrator signed the Judgment on January 29, 2013, and it was filed with the court the same day. The Judgment was not signed by a judge or commissioner of the superior court. The Judgment, in pertinent part, declared that

[t]his matter having come on for arbitration on December 18, 2012, and the parties having presented their evidence and rested, and based on the Arbitrator's ruling of January 3, 2013,
IT IS HEREBY ORDERED, ADJUDGED AND DECREED:
1. Plaintiff Robert Phillips shall have and recover from Defendant Craig E. Garcia the sum of $11,967.00, together with interest thereon at ...

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