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LLC v. Sunquest Information Systems, Inc.

Court of Appeals of Arizona, Second Division

November 22, 2016

Tucson Lot 4, LLC, an Arizona limited liability company, Plaintiff/Appellant,
v.
Sunquest Information Systems, Inc., a Pennsylvania corporation; Misys Hospital Systems, Inc., a Pennsylvania corporation; and Misys PLC, a United Kingdom corporation, Defendants/Appellees.

         Appeal from the Superior Court in Pima County No. C20160742 The Honorable Jeffrey T. Bergin, Judge.

REVERSED AND REMANDED

         COUNSEL

          Jackson & Oden, PC, Tucson By Todd Jackson and Lane Oden Counsel for Plaintiff/Appellant

          Farhang & Medcoff, Tucson By Ali J. Farhang, Elizabeth A. Parsons, and Robert A. Bernheim Counsel for Defendants/Appellees

          Chief Judge Eckerstrom authored the opinion of the Court, in which Presiding Judge Vásquez and Judge Miller concurred.

          OPINION

          ECKERSTROM, Chief Judge

         ¶1 Appellant Tucson Lot 4, LLC (TL4) appeals from the trial court's order granting a preliminary injunction in favor of Sunquest Information Systems, Inc. (Sunquest). For the following reasons, we reverse the judgment of the trial court.

         Factual and Procedural Background

         ¶2 In 2004, Sunquest entered into a commercial lease agreement with TL4's predecessor in interest. The lease was set to run from August 21, 2006 until November 30, 2016. In 2012, Sunquest asserted to TL4 that there were issues with the calculation of square footage used as the base for the rental rate and the management fee charged under the lease. In February 2016, TL4 filed suit against Sunquest, alleging Sunquest had stopped paying some of the operating expenses, which allegedly constituted breach of lease. After TL4 filed suit, Sunquest ceased paying all rent. Sunquest filed numerous counterclaims.[1] Sunquest also requested an injunction to prevent TL4 from initiating eviction proceedings or otherwise interfering with Sunquest's use of the premises. TL4 filed an amended complaint against Sunquest for forcible detainer (FED). After an evidentiary hearing, the trial court granted Sunquest's request for a preliminary injunction. The court's order also "den[ied] TL4's pending request for an eviction order and an award of associated damages." This appeal followed.

         Appellate Jurisdiction

         ¶3 Sunquest acknowledges that this court has appellate jurisdiction to review the trial court's preliminary injunction pursuant to A.R.S. § 12-2101(A)(5)(b). Sunquest challenges this court's jurisdiction over the denial of TL4's FED action, however, noting that the trial court's order did not contain language pursuant to Rule 54(b) or (c), Ariz. R. Civ. P. The Arizona Rules of Procedure for Eviction Actions (RPEA) generally state that "[t]he Arizona Rules of Civil Procedure [ARCP] apply only when incorporated by reference in these rules." RPEA 1. Rule 54 of the ARCP is not incorporated into the RPEA. Furthermore, A.R.S. § 12-1182(A) provides that an appeal may be taken from a forcible detainer action. Neither Rule 54(b) nor Rule 54(c) applies to an order that is independently appealable by statute. See Brumett v. MGA Home Healthcare, L.L.C., 240 Ariz. 421, ¶ 11, 380 P.3d 659 (2016).[2]

         Preliminary Injunction

         ¶4 TL4 contends the trial court erred in granting the preliminary injunction based on a failure of evidence. We do not reach the merits of the injunction because we conclude that, as TL4 argued below, the trial court did not have the authority to grant it as a matter of law. By doing so, it denied TL4 its statutory right to a FED proceeding. "Courts of equity are as much bound by the plain and positive provisions of a statute as are courts of law. When rights are clearly established and defined by a statute, equity has no power to change or upset such rights." Valley Drive-In Theatre Corp. v. ...


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