Court of Appeals Division 2 Published Opinion

Arizona Court of Appeals, Div. 2, affirms trial court's grant of summary judgment in published opinion

Richard Rollman and Kevin Kristick, on behalf of the City of Tucson et al., successfully defended on appeal the trial court's grant of their motion for summary judgment in Case No. C20155573. The issue on appeal was "[w]hether an abuse-of-process claim accrues when the plaintiff knows or has reason to know that the abuse occurred or upon entry of final judgment in the proceedings in which the abuse occurred."

The Court of Appeals affirmed the trial court's ruling and held that Plaintiff's notice of claim under A.R.S. § 12-821.01(A) was untimely because the alleged abuse accrued more than 180 days prior to her filing of a notice of claim. Here is an excerpt of the Court's analysis:

Section 12-821.01(A), A.R.S., provides that a claimant who wishes to bring an action against a public entity must, "within one hundred eighty days after the cause of action accrues," file a notice of claim with the entity. "[A] cause of action accrues when the damaged party realizes he or she has been damaged and knows or reasonably should know the cause, source, act, event, instrumentality or condition that caused or contributed to the damage." § 12-821.01(B); see Rogers v. Bd. of Regents of Univ. of Ariz., 233 Ariz. 262, ¶ 7, 311 P.3d 1075, 1078 (App. 2013). The plaintiff "must at least possess a minimum requisite of knowledge sufficient to identify that a wrong occurred and caused injury," but "need not know all the facts underlying a cause of action to trigger accrual." Doe v. Roe, 191 Ariz. 313, ¶ 32, 955 P.2d 951, 961 (1998) (emphasis omitted). Put another way, "the core question" of when a claim accrued is not when the plaintiff was conclusively aware she had a cause of action against a particular party, but instead when "a reasonable person would have been on notice to investigate." Walk v. Ring, 202 Ariz. 310, ¶¶ 23-24, 44 P.3d 990, 996 (2002).

Ultimately, the Court determined that the Plaintiff was aware of the abuse of process well before the 180 day requirement and failed to timely file her notice of claim.

The opinion in its entirety can be found here,