Southwest Barricades v. Traffic Mgmt, Inc., 740 Ariz. Adv. Rep. 5 (App. Div. I, June 9, 2016) (J. Gemmill)
COMPULSORY ARBITRATION AWARD IS NOT SELF-EXECUTING JUDGMENT—PARTY MUST ASK SUPERIOR COURT TO ENTER FINAL JUDGMENT BEFORE SEEKING RULE 60 (c) RELIEF
Plaintiff sued for breach of contract over damage to an attenuator truck. The amount in controversy was within the Compulsory Arbitration limits. The arbitrator awarded plaintiff damages and attorneys' fees. Defendant miscalculated the deadline to appeal the judgment. The superior court dismissed the notice of appeal as untimely and plaintiff then sought relief under rule 60 (c) which the superior court granted. Following a jury trial the plaintiff appeals the granting of relief under rule 60 (c). The Arizona Court of Appeals vacated and remanded.
Relief under Rule 60 (c) can only be obtained from a final judgment. An arbitration award is not a final judgment. Arizona courts interpreting Rule 76(c) note that the rules "contemplate three steps leading to a judgment: the arbitrator's notice of decision; the arbitrator's award or other final disposition; and the superior court's entry of judgment."
Here, neither party ever asked the superior court to enter judgment, so there was no final judgment from which to seek relief under Rule 60 (c).