Arizona Reduces Punitive Damages in Insurance Bad Faith Case Again: Arellano v. Primerica Life Insurance
In Arellano v. Primerica Life Insurance Company, 235 Ariz. 371, 332 P.3d 597 (App. 2014), despite finding an insurer's conduct moderately to highly reprehensible, the Arizona Court of Appeals recently reduced a punitive damages award from $1,117,572 to $328,000—a 4:1 ratio to bad faith compensatory damages of $82,000. In so holding, the Court of Appeals continues Arizona's trend of reducing punitive damages … Read More
Critical Change for Serving Preliminary 20-Day Notices for Arizona Public Projects
Cemex v. Falcone Bros.
On April 30, 2015, Arizona's most common construction industry practice for serving a Preliminary Twenty Day Notice ("Prelim") on an Arizona public project—first class mail with certificate of mailing—was invalidated by the Arizona Court of Appeals in Cemex Construction Materials South, LLC v. Falcone Brothers & Associates, Inc. In Falcone Bros., the … Read More
Arizona's "Whistleblower" Laws: Tread Carefully
A "whistleblower" is someone who reports to management (or in some cases state and federal agencies) that they believe someone in their company is engaged in illegal conduct. There are numerous federal statutes that provide remedies to employees who are terminated or retaliated against for "blowing the whistle." For example, the Sarbanes Oaxley Act prohibits publicly traded companies from discriminating against an … Read More
Employers Beware! Government Agencies Are Out To Bust You For Misclassifying Your Employees As Independent Contractors
Both federal and state labor authorities are hot on the trail of companies who hire employees and call them "independent contractors." The United States Department of Labor (DOL) has entered into a Memorandum of Understanding with a number of states, including Arizona, mandating the enforcement of laws pertaining to properly classifying employees as employees. The DOL and these states have made this … Read More
What is a "Non-Disparagement" Clause and Why You May Not Want to Sign One
By David Farren
You settle your case, and the defendant agrees to pay you a lot of money. All that’s left to do is to sign a “standard” settlement agreement prepared by the defendant’s attorney. You get to page 10 and see a paragraph titled “No Disparagement.” You see that this means neither party will “disparage” the other . . . ever. You call your attorney, who … Read More
Arizona’s New Construction Defect Law is Effective the Summer of 2015
On March 23, 2015, Arizona Governor, Doug Ducey, signed into law House Bill 2578. This new legislation relates specifically to Arizona's construction defect claims and revises the Purchaser Dwelling Actions statute - ARS § 12-1361, et al. The new law is effective the summer of 2015.
The intent of this new law is to limit the number of construction defect lawsuits brought by homeowners. However, expansion of … Read More
Behavioral Health Billing Alert
Providers of behavioral health services should be aware that the fifth edition of the American Psychiatric Association's Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM-5), released in May 2013 after more than ten years in preparation, contains references to International Classification of Diseases version 9 (ICD-9) codes, and not to the newer ICD-10 codes. No publication date for a sixth revision of this Manual has … Read More
Why it is Crucial to Designate a HSA Beneficiary
As high deductible health insurance plans are becoming more popular, an important component is health savings accounts (HSA). In addition to having current tax advantages, there is specific tax treatment of HSA accounts upon the death of the account holder. While not a requirement for HR departments, here is a quick tip that employees may find valuable.
All participants in a qualified … Read More
Options and the Right of First Refusal in Commercial Leases
In commercial leases, it is common for the tenant to be given the "option" to continue to lease their premises for a new term commencing immediately upon the expiration of the existing term. Although the option only favors the tenant, who has the sole right to either exercise or decline to exercise it, there is usually little reason for a landlord to refuse to give such right to the tenant, in that under … Read More
Frequently Asked Questions: Attorneys’ Fees and Costs in Divorce Cases
I don't want the divorce; why should I have to pay for it?
We all have expenses for things that we do not anticipate. We do not intend to get sick or hurt; however, if we need medical attention, we are required to pay the medical bills. If you are involved in a divorce and elect to be represented by counsel, you are expected to pay for those legal services even if you have no desire to be divorced.
Why do … Read More