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Arizona Supreme Court

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Is There a Difference Between Care and Treatment?

Mon, 06/30/2014

Wyatt v. Vanguard Health System Inc.: Two different plaintiffs filed suit against two separate acute care hospitals on the ground that the hospitals violated the Arizona Adult Protective Services Act (APSA) resulting in the death of their family members. The hospitals argued that the APSA does not apply to them because, as acute care hospitals, they provide “treatment” not “care” to their patients and thus cannot be held liable for negligent care.


The Supreme Court of Arizona vacated the opinions of the lower courts and remanded the case. The Court declared that the APSA does apply to acute care hospitals, which are established to provide health services to patients. In addition, since the APSA does not expressly exempt acute care hospitals, and since the Court does not find the term “health care” to be ambiguous, the Court believes the hospitals had a duty to provide proper care to the victims.

Read the full decision here

Constitutional Right to Represent Yourself Challenged

Fri, 06/13/2014

Lashauna Coleman v. Hon. Diane Johnsen: After being convicted and placed on probation, Coleman’s counsel filed a notice of appeal and the Public Defender’s office assigned her an attorney. Coleman made the request to represent herself but her request was ignored until her counsel filed a motion to leave since Coleman wanted to represent herself. The Court of Appeals denied the motion stating that Coleman did not have a constitutional right to represent herself and that her appeal was untimely.


The Supreme Court of Arizona reversed and remanded the decision of the lower court on the grounds that the Arizona State Constitution does give an individual the right to represent themselves in court. In addition, the Court stated that the appeal was timely and therefore Coleman has the right to represent herself and dismiss her assigned counsel.

Read the full decision here

Drawing the Line with Eminent Domain

Thu, 04/17/2014

City of Phoenix v. Garretson: Garretson filed suit against the City of Phoenix seeking compensation for permanent property loss under eminent domain after the city built a light rail track along the side of his property, permanently blocking two of his driveways. The City stated that Garretson had no grounds for his claim because he still had open access in and out of his property via another driveway on a different road.


The Supreme Court of Arizona affirmed the ruling of the Superior Court which decided that, under the circumstances, Garretson has rights to file for compensation for the damage done to the accessibility of his property.

Read the full decision here