School Board Must be Served with Notice of Claim

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Civil Procedure—Notice of Claim Must Be Served On School District Board

Batty v. Glendale Union H.S. Dist., __Az. Adv. Rep. __ 1 Ca-CV 08-0274 (App., Div. II, June 2, 2009) (Justice Weisberg)


Plaintiff brought a claim against the school district for an injury occurring at school. Plaintiff served his notice of claim upon the school superintendent and principal at the school in question. The district moved for summary judgment because the plaintiff had served its notice of claim upon the school superintendent and not the governing board.

The Court of Appeals found that ARS 15-326 (1) & 15-341 (A) (1) render a school district a political subdivision of the state and gives the school board the power to sue and be sued. Because here the school board had not delegated to the superintendent this power it was the only entity capable of accepting service of a notice of claim for the school district.

In Falcon v. Sandoval, 213 Ariz. 525, 144 P.3d 1254 (2006) the Arizona Supreme Court required service upon the entire board of supervisors and not just one member nor upon the county manager to effectuate service on Maricopa County another subdivision of the state. From this holding the Court of Appeals reasoned the school superintendent is quite similar to the county manager in terms of the scope of its authority and duties. Bottom line, both are appointed by the board, serve under the board's direction and control and neither had an express delegation of the power to sue and be sued. Hence Falcon mandates a finding that the school board and not the superintendent must be served with a notice of claim to preserve the action.

Schmidt, Sethi & Akmajian

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