JSH Reporter Summer 2015 - Page 27

TRIALCOURTDECISIONS 027 This case arose out of an accident between a PUSD school bus and two other vehicles in April of 2012. The driver and passenger in one of the vehicles alleged severe injuries as a result of the accident, which, as they claimed, was caused by the negligence of the school bus driver. Before a lawsuit can be filed against a public entity in Arizona, such as a school district, a notice of claim (“NOC”) must be filed with the Chief Executive Officer of the entity. In cases where the CEO is a board, such as a county’s board of supervisors or a school district’s governing board, the NOC must be filed with the entire governing board. In October of 2012, the Claimants’ attorney mailed notices of claim (one for each claimant) to the PUSD Administration Center, one PUSD Board Member, and PUSD’s attorney, Michael Hensley. The claims were denied and a lawsuit was subsequently filed in April of 2013. PUSD’s attorneys at Jones, Skelton and Hochuli moved to dismiss the case arguing the Notice of Claim Statute had been violated, and that a lawsuit could not be initiated, because the Notice of Claim was not filed with all members of the PUSD Governing Board. The Trial Court agreed. Plaintiffs appealed, but the Arizona Court of Appeals affirmed the Trial Court’s decision in favor of the Firm’s client, holding that the NOC must be filed with all members of the PUSD Governing Board. The case was dismissed and PUSD was awarded its costs. This case is an example of the coordination between the Firm’s trial attorneys and appellate attorneys to secure a win for the Firm’s client. Chelius v. Small March 2, 2015 United States District Court, District of Arizona Don Myles, Michele Molinario and Amelia Esber Don Myles, Michele Molinario & Amelia Esber prevailed by summary judgment in a 42 U.S.C. § 1983 civil rights action against the City of Yuma. The U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona found that there was no liability on the part of the City of Yuma because the arresting officer did indeed have probable cause to arrest the plaintiff, Rodney Chelius. The net effect of this victory was to save the City of Yuma over $1.5 Million in potential damages and reiterate the Yuma Police Department’s authority under the Constitution to arrest suspects when there is probable cause that a crime has been committed. A summary of the case is as follows. The case stemmed from the September 2012 arrest of the plaintiff Rodney Chelius by Yuma Police Department officers. Although Chelius’ arrest did indeed lead to a charge, the criminal case was eventually dismissed due to lack of cooperation by the alleged victim. Chelius, in turn, sued the City of Yuma and the arresting officer alleging f