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Lawall v. R.R. Robertson, L.L.C.

Court of Appeals of Arizona, First Division

July 2, 2015

BARBARA LAWALL, in her official capacity as Pima County Attorney, Plaintiff/Appellant,
v.
R.R. ROBERTSON, L.L.C., an Arizona limited liability company, dba R3 INVESTIGATIONS; RICHARD R. ROBERTSON; and CHRISTOPHER DUPONT, Defendants/Appellees

Appeal from the Superior Court in Maricopa County. No. CV2013-016013. The Honorable Mark H. Brain, Judge.

Pima County Attorney's Office, Tucson, By Andrew L. Flagg, Counsel for Plaintiff/Appellant Barbara LaWall.

Perkins Coie, LLP, Phoenix, By Daniel C. Barr, Counsel for Defendants/Appellees R.R. Robertson, L.L.C.; R3 Investigations; and Richard R. Robertson.

Trautman Dupont, PLC, Phoenix, By Christopher B. Dupont, Counsel for Defendant/Appellee Christopher Dupont.

Arizona Prosecuting Attorneys' Advisory Council, Phoenix, By Elizabeth Ortiz, Counsel for Amicus Curiae Arizona Prosecuting Attorneys' Advisory Council.

Coppersmith Brockelman PLC, Phoenix, By Scott M. Bennett, Counsel for Amicus Curiae Arizona Attorneys for Criminal Justice.

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

OPINION

Page 376

KESSLER, Judge:

[¶1] Barbara LaWall, in her official capacity as Pima County Attorney (" LaWall" ), appeals the superior court's summary judgment in favor of R.R. Robertson, L.L.C. dba R3 Investigations and Richard R. Robertson (hereinafter " R3" ) and Christopher Dupont (collectively " Defendants" or " Appellees" ). LaWall also appeals the denial of her crossmotion for summary judgment, dismissal of her second amended complaint, and the grant of attorneys' fees to R3.

[¶2] The material facts are undisputed and the issue is purely a question of statutory interpretation of Arizona's public records law, see Arizona Revised Statutes (" A.R.S." ) sections 39-101 to -221 (2001 & Supp. 2014).[1] The primary question presented and the dispositive issue on appeal is whether Appellees' three public records requests are excepted from the statutory definition of " commercial purpose," see A.R.S. § 39-121.03(D) (2001), because they will or may be used " as evidence or as research for evidence in an action in any judicial or quasi-judicial body." [2] Because we conclude the requests fall within the exception, we affirm.

FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

I. Defendants' Requests for Public Records and LaWall's Complaint

A. R3's October Request for Records

[¶3] In October 2013, R3 requested certain prosecutorial records maintained by the Pima County Attorney's Office pursuant to Arizona's public records statutes. R3 sought " a copy of selected portions of [LaWall's] 'register' in electronic format . . . of all criminal cases prosecuted by [LaWall's] office . . .

Page 377

initiated [between] 2002 through current." [3] R3 asserted that the request was " for a non-commercial purpose as defined in A.R.S. § 39-121.03(D) [because] this information will be used as evidence or as research for evidence in ...


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