[Copyrighted Material Omitted]
from the Superior Court in Maricopa County, Nos.
CV2013-016971, CV2015-004464, CV2015-006176 (Consolidated),
The Honorable Dawn M. Bergin, Judge.
Law Offices, P.C., Phoenix, By Mark P. Breyer, Edward M.
Ladley, Brian C. Fawber, Counsel for Plaintiffs/Appellees
Law Firm, P.C., Chandler, By Robert Grasso, Jr., Kim S.
Alvarado, Stephanie L. Samuelson, Counsel for
Judge Lawrence F. Winthrop delivered the opinion of the
Court, in which Judge Kent E. Cattani and Judge Diane M.
In this personal injury action, a jury trial resulted in a
defense verdict in favor of the Town of Gilbert ("the
Town"). The plaintiff, Joseph Reyes ("Reyes"),
then moved for a new trial, which the superior court granted,
finding the Town had violated Arizona Rule of Civil Procedure
("Rule") 26.1. The Town appeals the courts
new-trial order. For the following reasons, we reverse the
order for a new trial and direct the superior court on remand
to reinstate the jury verdict in favor of the Town.
FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
I. The Underlying Incident
Reyes suffered injuries in a single-car accident in which
Albert Lopez was the driver. On the night of May 18, 2013,
Reyes, then sixteen years old, went with some friends to an
unsupervised party in Chandler, where they drank a
substantial amount of alcohol. Lopez arrived at the party
after midnight. He had been drinking alcohol throughout the
day, and he had also smoked marijuana and used cocaine.
At approximately 1:00 a.m., Lopez announced the party was
moving to his house. Lopez and three other teenagers,
including Reyes, got into Lopez truck. The truck sped
eastbound on Ocotillo Road, ran a stop sign at the Greenfield
Road intersection, and continued recklessly speeding through
a residential subdivision. Two passengers, including Reyes,
asked Lopez to slow down, but he did not do so, even after
the pavement ended and Ocotillo Road transitioned to a narrow
dirt path/road. Instead, Lopez continued on; the passengers
later estimated the truck was going between sixty and ninety
miles per hour.
A canal intersected the road 765 feet east of the end of the
pavement. As Lopez continued toward the canal, he eventually
braked, but was unable to stop. The truck vaulted the canal
and slammed into the east embankment.
Lopez, who had a blood alcohol level of .198 and tested
positive for cocaine, later testified he could not remember
the crash or driving after leaving the party. Reyes, who
was not wearing a seatbelt, was seriously injured in the
II. The Legal Proceedings
In December 2013, Reyes mother, Cindy, timely filed a
complaint, individually and on behalf of her minor son,
naming numerous defendants, including the Town. The complaint
alleged the Town was negligent because it "failed to
properly light the area, provide signage on the road or have
adequate warnings to alert travelers that Ocotillo Road was
ending and that an open canal existed across the
roadway" at the end of the dirt road.
By the time of trial, Reyes had turned eighteen and the only
claim remaining was his negligence claim against the Town.
During the course of the litigation, Reyes filed twenty-four
supplemental Rule 26.1 disclosure statements, and in each he
continued to allege as the basis for his claim that the Town
had "failed to properly light the area, provide signage
on the road or have adequate warnings to alert travelers that
Ocotillo Road was ending and that an open canal existed
across the roadway."
Before trial, the superior court granted the Towns unopposed
motion to exclude the expert testimony of Todd Springer,
Reyes "lighting expert." Reyes thereafter
proceeded on a single liability theory— that the Town
was negligent in maintaining Ocotillo Road east of Greenfield
Road. Relying on a traffic engineering expert, Dr. Robert
Bleyl, Reyes argued that the Town failed to provide proper
warning signs and that this failure was a cause of his
injuries. Specifically, Dr. Bleyl opined that the Manual on
Uniform Traffic Control Devices ("MUTCD") required