Civil Procedure - Retroactive Application of Statutory Amendment
State Compensation Fund v. Fink, 585 Ariz. Adv. Rep. 54 (App. Div. I, July 1, 2010) (J. Gemmill)
Lopez was seriously injured in 2004 on the job and received workers compensation benefits. Later he sued a tire manufacturer for his injuries. In 2007 the state legislature amended ARS sec. 23-1023 creating the right of the workers comp carrier to intervene in a personal injury action brought by an injured worker to protect the carrier's interests. In 2009 the carrier sought to exercise this right in Lopez personal injury claim and he objected that this constituted a retroactive application of a substantive law which is not allowed.The Court of Appeals disagreed with Lopez and held that the right to intervention was a procedural right and therefore could be applied retroactively to cases filed before the amendment allowing for intervention was passed.Here the right to intervene is a procedure for enforcing a substantive right but it in and of itself is not substantive. The right to intervention merely provides the method or vehicle for asserting the substantive right.