Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
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.

Johnson Utilities L.L.C v. Arizona Corporation Commission

Court of Appeals of Arizona, First Division

March 7, 2019

JOHNSON UTILITIES L.L.C., an Arizona limited liability company, Petitioner,
v.
ARIZONA CORPORATION COMMISSION; TOM FORESE, BOB BURNS, ANDY TOBIN, BOYD W. DUNN, and JUSTIN OLSON, in their official capacities as members of the Arizona Corporation Commission, Respondents.

          Special Action - Arizona Corporation Commission No. WS-02987A-18-0050 The Honorable Sarah N. Harping, Administrative Law Judge

          Fredenberg Beams, LLC, Phoenix By Daniel E. Fredenberg, Christian CM Beams Crockett Law Group, PLLC, Phoenix By Jeffrey W. Crocket Co-Counsel for Petitioner

          Arizona Corporation Commission, Phoenix By Andrew M. Kvesic, Maureen A. Scott, P. Robyn Poole Counsel for Respondents

          Judge Peter B. Swann delivered the opinion of the court, in which Presiding Judge Kenton D. Jones and Judge David D. Weinzweig joined.

          OPINION

          SWANN, JUDGE:

         ¶1 Johnson Utilities L.L.C. seeks special action relief from the Arizona Corporation Commission's order appointing a third-party interim manager to conduct Johnson Utilities' operations. It argues that the Commission lacks authority to interfere with the internal management of a public service corporation, and therefore that the Commission lacked jurisdiction to issue the interim management order.

         ¶2 We accept jurisdiction but deny relief. Both the Commission's broad ratemaking power under Ariz. Const. art. 15, § 3, and its statutorily delegated power to determine a "just" remedy for "inadequate" public-utility equipment, facilities, or services under A.R.S. § 40-321(A), provide the Commission with sufficient authority to impose an interim manager under appropriate circumstances. It is for the superior court, however, to decide whether the circumstances in this case supported the Commission's authority to issue the interim management order.

         FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

         ¶3 Johnson Utilities is a public service corporation that provides water and wastewater services in Pinal and Maricopa Counties. In March 2018, the Commission held a 14-day hearing regarding the adequacy of Johnson Utilities' operations and issued a decision finding several significant concerns with its billing practices and financial management, as well as with the condition of its equipment and facilities. Finding it "just and reasonable and in the public interest," the Commission appointed EPCOR Water Arizona (another water utility provider in the area) to "conduct the business and affairs" of Johnson Utilities as an interim manager. The Commission further ordered that Johnson Utilities may apply for termination of the interim management appointment with EPCOR "upon a showing that [Johnson Utilities'] services . . . are in all respects just, reasonable, safe, proper, adequate, and sufficient and that terminating the [appointment] would not present an unreasonable risk of service."

         ¶4 Johnson Utilities filed several actions protesting the Commission's order, including three unsuccessful requests to enjoin its enforcement. Johnson Utilities also filed a "Statutory Special Action" with the Arizona Supreme Court, and that court issued an order declining jurisdiction "without prejudice to refile in the court of appeals." Johnson Utilities now petitions this court for special action review.

         ¶5 We issued a brief order accepting jurisdiction and denying relief on September 21, 2018, noting that an opinion would follow. This is that opinion.

         JURISDICTION

         ¶6 We accepted special action jurisdiction because Johnson Utilities' petition presents a purely legal issue of immediate statewide importance. See Ariz. Corp. Comm'n ...


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.