Searching over 5,500,000 cases.

Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Fappani v. Bratton

Court of Appeals of Arizona, First Division

November 16, 2017

ANDREA FAPPANI, a married man, Plaintiff/Appellant,
JUSTIN BRATTON and COURTNEY BRATTON, husband and wife, Defendants/Appellees.

         Appeal from the Superior Court in Maricopa County No. CV2015-003749 The Honorable James T. Blomo, Judge

          Tiffany & Bosco, P.A., Phoenix By William M. Fischbach, Timothy C. Bode Counsel for Plaintiff/Appellant

          Quinn Law, PLLC, Phoenix By Ian D. Quinn Counsel for Defendants/Appellees

          Judge Michael J. Brown delivered the opinion of the Court, in which Presiding Judge Diane M. Johnsen and Judge Jon W. Thompson joined.


          BROWN, Judge.

         ¶1 In this dispute between neighboring property owners, Andrea Fappani appeals the superior court's dismissal of his claim against Courtney Bratton for abuse of process arising out of Bratton's complaints to law enforcement about excessive noise on Fappani's property.[1] Because Fappani failed to allege facts showing that Bratton used or misused a judicial process for an improper purpose, we affirm.


         ¶2 The following facts are taken from Fappani's amended complaint, which alleged that he purchased 20 acres of undeveloped land adjacent to Bratton's property in Rio Verde, an unincorporated area of Maricopa County. Fappani, a "world-renowned horse trainer, " acquired the property intending to build a home for his family, complemented by private recreational facilities. About one year later, Fappani built a private dirt motorbike track for use by his two children, ages seven and nine. Bratton developed an "intense dislike" for the "unsightly" track, in part because she believed it disturbed the desert landscape and devalued her property.

         ¶3 According to Fappani, Bratton has a "long history of hostility and animosity" toward him and his family, evidenced in part by her profanity and "obscene hand gestures" directed at the Fappanis, including the children. Bratton shared links with neighbors to internet posts that accused Fappani of being a "tax cheat, " and encouraged a boycott of his horse-training business. Bratton also unsuccessfully pursued an administrative claim with the Maricopa County Planning and Development Department, asserting that Fappani's track violated the county's zoning code. In doing so, she incorrectly asserted that Fappani's property was zoned residential, when in fact it has a rural-zoning designation. She also falsely asserted that Fappani intended the track for commercial use.

         ¶4 Bratton contacted the Maricopa County Sheriff at least eight times, complaining that noise from the motorbikes on Fappani's track violated Maricopa County Noise Ordinance P-23, and she encouraged her neighbors to make similar complaints.[2] Sheriff's deputies initially declined to cite Fappani, but ultimately issued two citations to him on different occasions for violating the noise ordinance, using an Arizona Traffic Ticket and Complaint form in each instance. Bratton was given a form advising her of her right, as a crime victim, to receive additional information about the case.

         ¶5 Bratton subsequently "demanded" that the Maricopa County Attorney prosecute the alleged noise violations, and the assigned prosecutor "acquiesced to Bratton's demands." The citations were consolidated and heard at a bench trial in justice court. Fappani was found not guilty on both citations.

         ¶6 The day the justice court rendered its judgment, Fappani filed this action in superior court, alleging Bratton committed the intentional tort of abuse of process by causing the sheriff to issue the noise citations and the county attorney to prosecute them. Fappani further alleged that Bratton's actions were motivated primarily by her desire to force the removal of the track because she disliked it and believed it diminished the value of her property. Thus, according to Fappani, Bratton "misused and perverted" the criminal justice system, causing him extreme emotional distress. Fappani also asserted that Bratton's conduct was "motivated almost entirely by spite and ill will" and was carried out "willfully, maliciously, and with an evil mind, " justifying imposition of punitive damages.

         ¶7 Bratton sought dismissal under Arizona Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6), arguing that the amended complaint included no allegation that in making noise complaints against Fappani, she "used any instrumentality of the litigation process, improperly or otherwise, against him." The superior court granted the ...

Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.