The Latest on Major Defense Verdicts in Arizona

What’s the latest news on Arizona’s civil defense verdicts?  Here are some interesting defense verdicts from 2014:

- Steak Out Restaurant & Saloon, L.L.C. et al. v. Old Lobos T&T, L.L.C. et al.    Steak Out Restaurant and its owners the Wystrach family filed suit against Old Lobos T&T and its owners the Ault family, alleging that they breached their lease, made misrepresentations and were guilty of fraud.  The Aults and Old Lobos counterclaimed that plaintiffs breached the lease agreement and breached personal guarantees.  This trial ended in a defense verdict on the main claims, plus a win for the defense of more than $2.5 million on their counterclaims.

- Veronica Monge v. Sun Valley Masonry, Inc. and Felipe Duarte.  This was a construction site wrongful death case against a forklift driver Felipe Duarte and his employer Sun Valley Masonry.  Samuel Monge was struck by the forklift and died on the site.  The Monge family alleged that Duarte failed to stop at the corner, did not sound the horn before turning, had physical impairments, and had driven by Monge several times before at a high speed.  They asked the jury to award his spouse and five children a total of more than $14 million.  Sun Masonry and Duarte argued that Monge and his employer caused the accident, and that Monge assumed the risk when he worked unprotected in an intersection instead of waiting for a flagger or barricades to be set by his employer.  They also defended that Duarte had been trained and certified as a forklift driver.

- Elena Noguero v. American Family Mutual Insurance Company.  This was an insurance bad faith case.  Elena Noguero claimed that her roof was damaged by two storms that caused leaks in the roof of the building that housed her business.  She alleged that her insurance carrier, American Family Mutual Insurance Company, failed to pay for repairs to the roof and interior water damage.  Noguero asked the jury to award approximately $1.4 million for property damage, lost business inventory, lost profits and business good will, plus damages for emotional trauma, anxiety and humiliation, in addition to $6 million in punitive damages.  American Family denied that the roof was damaged during the storms storas, asor that it was the cause of water intrusion.  American Family defended that it paid a reasonable amount to repair other kinds of damage caused by those storms.

Last month, our colleagues won a defense verdict in Tucson, and you can read more about that here.  We’re working on the latest article for Arizona Attorney about 2014’s Arizona civil verdicts, and look for that online (www.azbar.org/AZAttorney) and in print in June.

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