Premier Physicians Group, PLLC, an Arizona professional LLC, dba Premier Pain Management, LLC, an Arizona Limited Liability Company, Plaintiff/Appellant,
Kimberly Navarro and Eddie Navarro, Wife and Husband, Defendants/Appellees.
from the Superior Court in Maricopa County The Honorable Mark
F. Aceto, Judge No. CV2014-090145
of the Court of Appeals, Division One 238 Ariz. 156, 357 P.3d
840 (App. 2015)
Dove, Trevor J. Fish, (argued), Evans, Dove & Nelson,
P.L.C., Mesa, Attorneys for Premier Physicians Group, PLLC
dba Premier Pain Management, LLC
DeCiancio (argued), Christopher Robbins, Hill, Hall &
DeCiancio, PLC, Phoenix, Attorneys for Kimberly and Eddie
L. Abney, Dana R. Roberts, Knapp & Roberts, P.C.,
Scottsdale; and Geoffrey M. Trachtenberg, Levenbaum
Trachtenberg, PLC, Phoenix, Attorneys for Amicus Curiae
Arizona Association for Justice/Arizona Trial Lawyers
JUSTICE BOLICK authored the opinion of the Court, in which
CHIEF JUSTICE BALES, VICE CHIEF JUSTICE PELANDER, and
JUSTICES BRUTINEL and TIMMER joined.
We granted review to decide when a non-hospital health care
provider may perfect a lien to secure its charges. This case
turns on the statutory requirement that such a lien must be
recorded "before or within thirty days after the patient
has received any services relating to the injuries . . .
." A.R.S. § 33-932(A). We hold that the statute
requires providers to record their liens within thirty days
after first providing services.
Between June and October 2011, Premier Physicians Group
("Premier") treated Mandy Gipson for injuries
sustained in a car accident allegedly caused by Kimberly
Navarro. Health care providers like Premier are statutorily
entitled to record liens for their "customary
charges" in treating an injured person; such liens apply
to claims the injured person may have for damages related to
the injury that required treatment. A.R.S. § 33-931(A).
These liens are perfected by recording pursuant to A.R.S.
§ 33-932. On September 16, 2011, Premier recorded a lien
to secure payment of approximately $12, 000 for its services.
In March 2013, the Navarros' insurer paid Gipson directly
to settle her claim but did not satisfy the lien. Gipson
failed to pay Premier for the services it rendered to her.
In January 2014, Premier sued the Navarros under A.R.S.
§ 33- 934 to enforce the lien. The Navarros moved to
dismiss the action because the lien was recorded more than
thirty days after Premier first provided services to Gipson.
Premier argued that § 33-932(A) allowed it to perfect
the lien within thirty days after services were last
provided. Agreeing with the Navarros' statutory
interpretation, the trial court dismissed the complaint.
The court of appeals reversed, interpreting § 33-932 as
allowing health care providers to record liens within thirty
days after the final service but reaching back only to
charges incurred within the thirty days before the lien was
recorded. Premier Physicians Grp., PLLC v. Navarro,
238 Ariz. 156, 357 P.3d 840 (App. 2015). The court also
granted attorney fees to Premier as the prevailing party on
appeal under A.R.S. §§ 33-934(B), 12-341.
Id. at 159 ¶ 11, 357 P.3d at 843. The Navarros
filed a petition for review as to the court of appeals'
statutory interpretation and the attorney fees award.
We granted review because the recording requirement for
perfecting health care provider liens is a legal question
with statewide significance. See Blankenbaker v.
Jonovich,205 Ariz. 383, 385 ¶ 7, 71 P.3d 910, 912
(2003). We have jurisdiction under ...