Arizona’s Compulsory Arbitration Program: Is It Time for a Reform?

Arizona State Law Journal Blog
By Christian Fernandez. What is Arizona’s compulsory arbitration program? Arbitration is a form of alternative dispute resolution where an independent third party hears the case and determines the result. Arizona courts have adopted a compulsory arbitration program for all civil lawsuits that meet the requirements listed in Rules 72–77 of the Arizona Rules of Civil Procedure. All civil disputes valued under a specific amount are resolved through this arbitration program instead of litigating in court. This program applies to plaintiffs that are only seeking money damages. In addition, this program does not apply to criminal lawsuits. How does the compulsory arbitration program work? A person that brings a lawsuit in Arizona is required to fill out a form stating the type and estimated value of damages they seek. The compulsory…
Read More

Do plaintiffs in data breach cases have a leg to stand on?

Arizona State Law Journal Blog
By Kacie Donovan. Data breaches and resulting amounts of compromised personal information are increasing rapidly. The FBI has said “[T]here are only two types of companies: those that have been hacked and those that will be. And even they are converging into one category: companies that have been hacked and will be hacked again.” Unsurprisingly, plaintiffs affected by these ever-common data breaches are seeking relief in court. Standing doctrine is a hotly contested battleground for the parties to litigation following a data breach. In some courts, plaintiffs experience difficulty demonstrating that the theft of their data alone gives them standing. Several courts require that the data be misused in order for a plaintiff to establish standing. Background on Standing in Data Breach Litigation Justice Scalia once described standing in “pedestrian terms,”…
Read More

CBD: The Legality & Regulation of the “Other” Cannabis Ingredient

Arizona State Law Journal Blog
By Abby Dockum. Over the past several years, products containing cannabidiol—better known as CBD—have spread across the shelves of grocery stores and pharmacies. Sales of CBD products are expected to surpass $5 billion dollars in 2019, up 700% from 2018. This may be attributed in part to increased research on the health benefits of CBD, but it is more likely due to changes in CBD’s legal status. What is CBD? CBD, like tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), is an active ingredient of cannabis. Unlike THC, however, CBD has no psychoactive effect, meaning it does not cause a “high.” CBD is not addictive, and the World Health Organization reported that there is no evidence that CBD poses any public health risk. While scientists are still working to determine the health benefits of CBD, there…
Read More

Defective Work & Offers to Cure: Do Contractors Have a Common Law Right to Cure?

Arizona State Law Journal Blog
By Caitlin Doak. No published Arizona opinion provides for an implied right to cure. However, a recent unpublished Court of Appeals opinion suggests that Arizona is inching closer to adopting an implied right to cure absent a contractual right to cure. In Fisher v. Rondo Pools, 1 CA-CV 18-0343 (Ariz. App. 2019), the court found no error in the superior court instructing the jury that “in determining whether Rondo materially breached the contract, it could consider Rondo’s ‘ability to cure or fix the alleged breach’ and whether Rondo ‘can make any reasonable assurances that it would cure the alleged breach.’” Fisher v. Rondo Pools In Fisher v. Rondo Pools, an owner terminated a contractor mid-project for various defaults. The owner sued, and the jury found the contractor did not materially breach…
Read More

Supreme Court Kicks Off Controversial Docket

Arizona State Law Journal Blog
By Harman Dhanoa. On October 7th, 2019, the justices returned to the bench for what has been called “the most significant Supreme Court term in a decade.” The docket of 59 cases is set to cover high-profile matters including abortion, gun rights, LGBT+ rights, presidential power, and more. While Chief Justice John Roberts has long sought to maintain an image of the Court as an apolitical institution, all eyes will be on the conservative-leaning Court as it rules on divisive issues ahead of the 2020 presidential election. A brief overview of the issues on the docket this term: Abortion In June Medical Services v. Gee, the Court will assess the constitutionality of a Louisiana law requiring abortion providers to have admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles of the…
Read More

The Computer Fraud and Abuse Act: Why a Change in the Legislation is Needed

Arizona State Law Journal Blog
By Chase Colwell. By 1986, it was clear that computers were becoming an inextricable component of modern society. However, this new and developing technology was ripe for abuse in various ways. At the time, there were not any adequate legal remedies for victims of these abuses, so Congress saw fit to create a criminal statute addressing those concerns. Thus, The Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA) of 1986 was born. The CFAA’s primary concern was to prevent “hacking.” As such, the CFAA made it a crime under § 1030(a)(2)(C) for an individual to “intentionally access[] a computer without authorization or exceed[] authorized access” to obtain “information from any protected computer.” The CFAA defines “exceeding authorized access” in § 1030(e)(6) as accessing a computer with authorization and using such access to…
Read More

Compensation of College Athletes: A Reward for Athletic Achievement or Bribe?

Arizona State Law Journal Blog
By Madelaine Bauer. For many years, there has been a crucial debate circulating the college athletics world—whether college athletes should be compensated, specifically, for their name, image or likeness. Circling back to 2009, the National Collegiate Athletic Association (“NCAA”) faced their first uproar of the controversy on college athlete compensation with the release of their EA Sports NCAA Basketball ’09 video game. The NCAA found themselves as the defendants of a class action lawsuit headed by former UCLA basketball player, Ed O’Bannon. The claim of this class action was for a violation of the Sherman Antitrust Act and denying the athletes’ right of publicity—by using the athletes’ name, image and likeness in the production of their games without permission or compensation. After a long-awaited trial, the court ruled the NCAA’s use of the college athletes’ name, image and likeness without the athletes’…
Read More

Arizona Rule of Evidence 404(b): Limiting the Use of Propensity Evidence Against Criminal Defendants

Arizona State Law Journal Blog
Jessica Berch, Lecturer, Arizona State University Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law; Member of the Arizona Advisory Committee on the Rules of Evidence The Arizona Rules of Evidence largely mirror the Federal Rules of Evidence, and Arizona state courts often look to federal precedent in interpreting the Arizona Rules. This parallelism between the two rule sets is purposeful. In fact, on June 11, 2012, the Arizona Supreme Court established the Advisory Committee on the Rules of Evidence with an express purpose of maintaining conformity with the federal rules: The Committee shall periodically conduct a review and analysis of the Arizona Rules of Evidence, review all proposals to amend the Arizona Rules of Evidence, compare the rules to the Federal Rules of Evidence, recommend revisions and additional rules as the Committee…
Read More

Ninth Circuit Stays Federal Execution of Navajo Man

Arizona State Law Journal Blog
By Mike Brown. In October 2001, Lezmond Mitchell confessed to the murder of sixty-three-year-old Alyce Slim and her nine-year-old granddaughter. A jury convicted Mitchell and sentenced him to die for his crimes. Now, eighteen years after the killings, the Ninth Circuit has stayed Mitchell’s execution. The reason—potential racial bias by the jury who convicted him. Lezmond Mitchell is a citizen of the Navajo Nation, as were his victims. The killings occurred on tribal land, and thus fell under federal jurisdiction. The details are gruesome. Ms. Slim and her granddaughter were headed to New Mexico when they were violently carjacked by Mitchell and another man, Orsinger. Mitchell and Orsinger forced the elderly woman out of her GMC pickup and stabbed her thirty-three times before placing her lifeless body back in the…
Read More

PURPA’s Uncertain Future in Arizona’s Solar Energy Portfolio

Arizona State Law Journal Blog
By Cory Bernard. Post-hearing briefs filed last week in a matter before the Arizona Corporation Commission (ACC), plus a recent Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, highlight fierce debates over a key weapon in solar developers’ arsenal. The Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act (PURPA) became law in 1978 with goals that included encouraging renewable energy development and reducing consumer energy prices. It established a class of renewable energy producers that could achieve “qualified facility” (QF) status from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) and thus enjoy certain benefits. Chief among these benefits is a QF’s ability to unilaterally force a utility to buy its power at the utility’s “avoided cost,” i.e. the cost the utility would have incurred by generating the power itself or purchasing it elsewhere.…
Read More