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Geoff Trachtenberg

Business Owners Now Owe Nondelegable Duties to Keep Premises Reasonably Safe

“Attention Safeway shoppers, business owners now owe nondelegable duties to their invitees to keep their premises reasonably safe.”Steven H. Simon sued Safeway after he was injured during a store altercation with a security guard who “physically and sexually” assaulted him. The guard was employed by a third-party company who had contracted with Safeway. He mistakenly concluded that Mr. Simon…

Geoff Trachtenberg

Arizona Courts Have General Personal Jurisdiction over Foreign Insurers

New decision from Division One, Bohreer v. Erie Ins. Exch.. Bohreer holds that an Arizona court has general personal jurisdiction over a foreign insurer which has appointed the Director of Insurance as an agent for service of process and has not withdrawn such qualification or appointment, but has ceased doing business in the state prior to the acts underlying the complaint. The Court held…

Geoff Trachtenberg

Paternity Statutes Do Not Apply to Wrongful Death Actions Involving Unborn Children

These are complicated times. It seems that, in addition to proving wrongful death, when the decedent is an unborn child, you had better be able to prove paternity as well.In the case, Aranda v. Cardenas, both the mother and her unborn child were apparently subject to fatal medical malpractice. The Defendants, however, disputed whether the unborn child’s father was indeed the child’s father,…

Geoff Trachtenberg

Circumstances of Death Are Admissible in Wrongful Death Actions To The Extent They Impact on Shock, Grief and Emotional Distress of Statutory Survivors

Division One just put out an opinion in Girouard v.Skyline Steel involving interpretation of the wrongful death statute. The case involved admitted liability, but disputed damages where the decedent burned to death in car accident. The Court clarified that, while pre-death suffering is not compensable in a wrongful death action, the horrific circumstances of the death, the necessity of closed…

Geoff Trachtenberg

The Difference Between Wrongful Death and Survival Actions

Arizona law provides for two causes of action when someone dies: a wrongful death claim and a survival action. The purpose of providing both actions is to give the parties damaged a complete remedy and opportunity to recover the loss sustained.The wrongful death action is intended to benefit certain survivors — called statutory beneficiaries — such as the decedent’s parents, children, and…

Geoff Trachtenberg

The Full Scope of Arizona's Wrongful Death Statute is Still Uncertain

Arizona’s wrongful death statute still has some ambiguity. For example, ARS 12-612 permits a wrongful death claim to be brought “on behalf of the surviving husband or wife, children or parents, or if none of these survive, on behalf of the decedent’s estate.” What does this last part mean?What damages can the estate recover in a statutory wrongful death action (as opposed to a statutory…

Geoff Trachtenberg

The Nature of the Wrongful Death Remedy

Unlike most injury claims, wrongful death claims are governed by statute. This has some important and surprising consequences.By way of some background, the reason wrongful death statutes were enacted was because, at common law, there was no such cause of action. As a result, it was often cheaper to kill someone than it was to simply injure them (there was a saying that, “if your carriage runs…

Geoff Trachtenberg

Wrongful Death and Negligent Loss of Frozen Embryos

Unlike most injury claims, wrongful death claims are created and governed by statute. Those statutes typically permit claims by certain family members for the negligent loss of a loved one or, in pure legal terms, a “person.” But what qualifies as a “person” is subject to a great deal of political, philosophical and even legal debate.What about frozen embryos? They are genetically complete…

Chrissie Cole

Settlement Reached in Lawsuit Over Teen's Death

A wrongful death lawsuit involving a 16-year-old girl who was killed by a motorist on her way to school, has settled for $225,000 with the city paying up.The suit was filed by the Mother of a junior at Alhambra High School that was killed on November 20, 2004 while she was attempting to catch a Valley Metro bus to get to class.The lawsuit accused the city of negligence in its operation of…