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Scottsdale Injury Lawyers Prevails on Motion to Change Venue in ATV Injury Case Against Arizona Outdoor Fun
On August 13, 2019, Tony Piccuta, lead trial counsel from Scottsdale Injury Lawyers, LLC argued a motion to change venue in Knepper v. Arizona Outdoor Fun Rentals, Et Al. The case was filed by Scottsdale Injury Lawyers in Maricopa County Superior Court after the firm’s client was severely injured as a result of being thrown from a rented ATV. The lawsuit alleges that the ATV tour and rental company misrepresented the dangers associated with its tours and was negligent. Specifically, the lawsuit alleges that Arizona Outdoor Fun Rentals was negligent in failing to properly assist and instruct the client after she demonstrated she could not operate the ATV safely.
After the lawsuit was filed in Maricopa County Superior Court, Arizona Outdoor Fun Rentals sought to move the case to Yavapai County. This was a strategic effort presumably because Arizona Outdoor Fun Rentals thought it was a more favorable county to defend its case in. In other words, Arizona Outdoor Fun thought that a court or jury in Yavapai County would be more favorable to it and award less money to the firm’s client for her injuries.
The Motion to Change Venue argued that Maricopa County was the wrong County to file the case in because Arizona Outdoor Fun Rentals was located in Black Canyon City in Yavapai County. Arizona law generally holds that an action must be filed in the County where the injury or the significant events giving rise to the lawsuit occurred or where the Defendant resides. If there are several Defendants in different Counties, then the lawsuit may be filed in any county in which any Defendant resides. If all Defendants reside outside the State or their residence is unknown, the action may be brought in the County in which the Plaintiff resides. For venue purposes, Arizona courts typically treat corporations and businesses the same as individual persons.
There are several exceptions to these general rules which are set forth in Arizona Revised Statutes § 12-401. Should a case be brought in the wrong County, a Defendant can move under Arizona Revised Statutes § 12-404(A) to change the venue to the County Defendant believes is proper. If the Defendant fails to do so initially, Defendant waives the right to change venue later and the case will then proceed in the county chosen by Plaintiff.
Scottsdale Injury Lawyers opposed the motion on the grounds that the facility in Black Canyon City, where the firm’s client was injured, actually straddled the County line. In other words, part of the practice track on which the firm’s client was hurt was in Maricopa County. The firm also argued that the misrepresentations made to the client were made while she was located in Maricopa County staying at a resort hotel in the North Scottsdale area. Scottsdale Injury Lawyers also presented ample evidence that Arizona Outdoor Fun did little, if any, advertising in Yavapai County and appeared to do all its marketing and draw the bulk of its customers from cities located throughout Maricopa County.
After oral argument at the hearing and after considering the briefing filed by both sides, the Court sided with Scottsdale Injury Lawyers and its client. The Court issued an order and opinion denying the Motion to Change Venue and allowing the case to continue in Maricopa County. In doing so, the Court concluded that an exception to the general venue rule under Arizona Revised Statute § 12-401(10) applied.
“when the foundation of the action is a crime, offense or trespass for which an action in damages may lie, the action may be brought in the county in which the crime, offense or trespass was committed….”
A.R.S. § 12-401(10), sets forth “when the foundation of the action is a crime, offense or trespass for which an action in damages may lie, the action may be brought in the county in which the crime, offense or trespass was committed….” The court noted that the term trespass includes any type of wrongful act that causes damage to another, and is generally construed as being equivalent to a tort. The court ultimately concluded that venue was proper in Maricopa County since at least part of the practice track where the client was injured was located there. In addition, the client was in Maricopa County at the time she relied upon the intentional misrepresentations.
Although the win on the Motion may be thought of as a minor victory, it could have a significant impact on the outcome of the case. It also establishes to the defense that Scottsdale Injury Lawyers is prepared to fight and win every issue and not lie down on any dispute regardless of the magnitude. If you or a loved one has suffered an injury due to the wrongdoing of another, contact Scottsdale Injury Lawyers, LLC today. We will fight hard to see that you or your loved one gets the compensation you deserve.
About the author: The content on this page was written by Scottsdale civil rights lawyer and personal injury attorney Tony Piccuta. Piccuta graduated with honors from Indiana University-Maurer School of Law in Bloomington, Indiana (Ranked Top 35 US News & World Report 2018). Piccuta took and passed the State bars of Arizona, California, Illinois and Nevada (all on the first try). He actively practices throughout Arizona and California. He is a trial attorney that regularly handles serious personal injury cases and civil rights lawsuits. He has obtained six and seven figure verdicts in both state and federal court. He has been recognized by Super Lawyers for six years straight. He is a member of the Arizona Association of Justice, Maricopa County Bar Association, Scottsdale Bar Association, American Association for Justice, National Police Accountability Project and Consumer Attorneys of California, among other organizations.
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