Schmidt, Sethi & Akmajian Blog

Civil Procedure: Statute of Limitations—Cross-jurisdictional EquitableTolling

Posted by Ted A. Schmidt | Jul 06, 2015 | 0 Comments

Rader v. Greenberg Traurig, 715 Ariz. Adv. Rep. 26 (App. Div. I, June 23, 2015) (J. Thuma)

ARIZONA DOES NOT RECOGNIZE EQUITABLE TOLLING OF AN ACTION WHERE PLAINTIFF OPTS OUT OF CLASS ACTION FILED IN ANOTHER JURISDICTION

A class action was brought in Arizona Federal District Court against defendant law firm alleging securities fraud in the preparation and distribution of an offering memorandum. Plaintiff opted out of the class after a settlement with the defendant had been approved by the federal court and then filed this action in state court. The trial court granted defendant's motion to dismiss based upon the running of the statute of limitations.  The Arizona Court of Appeals affirmed.

The central issue here was whether or not the time for filing this state court action was tolled by the cross-jurisdictional class action.  The court of appeals found that in those cases where such tolling had been allowed there was no equitable tolling statute in the jurisdiction.  There is no federal equitable tolling statute.  However, in Arizona there is an equitable tolling statute-- A.R.S. §12-504-- which allows for cross—jurisdictional tolling (See Templer v. Zele, 166 Ariz. 390, 391, 803 P.2d 111, 112 (App. 1990) but does not delineate “opting out of a class action” as a grounds for such tolling.  The court found that the plaintiff failed to articulate any reasonable justification for expanding equitable tolling beyond what the state legislature provided for in the A.R.S. §12-504 and thus declined to do so.

About the Author

Ted A. Schmidt

Ted's early career as a trial attorney began on the other side of the fence, in the offices of a major insurance defense firm. It was there that Ted acquired the experience, the skills and the special insight into defense strategy that have served him so well in the field of personal injury law. Notable among his successful verdicts was the landmark Sparks vs. Republic National Life Insurance Company case, a $4.5 million award to Ted's client. To this day, it is the defining case for insurance bad faith, and yet it is only one of several other multi-million dollar jury judgments won by Ted during his career. He is certified by the State Bar of Arizona as a specialist in "wrongful death and bodily injury litigation".

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