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Events of recent weeks brought into focus this issue:  How do we cultivate leadership that understands how to gather relevant, vetted evidence and utilize unbiased critical thinking to make decisions in the interest of the greater good.  Politics has gone from a place where people complained you could not tell the difference between the political parties to a point where the aisle between the parties is an ocean that a member of either party swims alone at their peril. In a time when our capacity to concentrate, engage in critical thinking, respectfully disagree, solve complex societal challenges, or even have…
Arizona statutory law, enforced by the Arizona Registrar of Contractors, requires specific information in every residential construction contract with a property owner where the amount of the contract exceeds $1,000. Every such contract requires: The name of the contractor, the contractor’s business address and license number.The name and mailing address of the owner and the jobsite address or legal description.The date the parties entered into the contract.The estimated date of completion of all work to be performed under the contract.A description of the work to be performed under the contract.The total dollar amount to be paid to the contractor…
Bidder beware.  Interpreting federal law can sometimes feel like solving a riddle.  For example, when is an early bid late? In the case, In re Sea Box, Inc., the Government Accountability Office (GAO) determined that a bid received by government servers eight minutes before the deadline was late because it did not arrive in the Contract Officer’s inbox until shortly after the deadline.  B-291056 (GAO Oct. 31, 2002).  To be clear, it did not matter when the bid was received by government servers, nor did it matter that the bid was fully in the control of the government…
A trust is a fiduciary relationship among the grantor that is the party transferring a property upon the trustee for the benefit of the beneficiary. In some instances, it may be that one person fulfills these various roles but often a trust will list multiple people in each capacity. A revocable trust can be amended at any time and offers flexibility during the lifetime of the grantor. An irrevocable trust cannot be modified, amended or terminated; however, certain necessary changes can be made through court proceedings or a process known as decanting. Key Differences in Structure The grantor of an…
As I write this, COVID-19 vaccines are being distributed nationwide on a limited basis. Once the vaccine is widely available, are you able to force employees to get the vaccine as a condition to keeping their job? The short answer is yes, but. The EEOC has ruled that employers may mandate that employees must take the flu vaccine. It is expected to rule the same way for the COVID-19 vaccines. But the caveat is that some employees may not be required to take the vaccine because of sincerely held religious beliefs or because they suffer from a disability. Once an…
Family-owned businesses are the backbone of the American economy.  Family-owned businesses account for 64 percent of U.S. gross domestic product, generate 62 percent of the country’s employment, comprise 90 percent of all business enterprises in North America and account for 78 percent of all new job creation.1 Your family-owned business supports your family and is an integral part of the United States economy so, how will you plan for the succession of your business? Have you considered which of the following might trigger your retirement: age, an interested and involved younger generation, personal financial benchmark or perhaps a company financial…
“Is anyone among you suffering? He should pray…Is anyone among you sick? He should summon the presbyters [priests] of the Church, and they should pray over him and anoint him with oil in the name of the Lord, and the prayer of faith will save the sick person, and the Lord will raise him up.  If he has committed any sins, he will be forgiven.”  (Jas. 5:14-15) Often, Catholics forget that one important aspect of an estate plan is to order their affairs according to the mysteries of faith.  Although most people have a Will or Trust, and Powers of…
A plaintiff who brings suit may be subject to a physical or mental examination ordered by the court if the plaintiff’s physical or mental condition is at issue in the case, pursuant to Arizona Rule of Civil Procedure Rule 35.  These examinations often occur if there is an unresolved injury, i.e., loss of movement or a traumatic brain injury. In these examinations, an expert hired by the defendant’s insurance company will examine the plaintiff.  Rule 35 permits attendance by a representative of the plaintiff unless attendance would compromise the exam. The examination may be recorded by the least intrusive means…
In Arizona and other states, the adage “possession is nine-tenths of the law” can become a reality when real property is controlled or used by someone other than the true owner. Possessing real property – whether acting as the owner of the property or simply using someone else’s property without permission – can cause the permanent transfer of legal rights in the property to the possessor or user. This occurs in the form of “adverse possession” and “prescriptive easements.” Through adverse possession, legal ownership of property is permanently transferred from the original titleholder to the possessor of the land as…
Are you or someone you know experiencing or has experienced domestic violence or abuse?  Does it seem that there is inadequate consideration for the abuse suffered in either the criminal or family law proceeding?  Have you talked to an attorney about bringing a personal injury claim? Many victims of abuse often find themselves mired in either a criminal case or a family law case, which are not the place to address an injury from abuse.  This often leaves victims feeling unable to access justice for the wrongs they have experienced. In a criminal court of law, the case is about…
A continued low-price environment for commodities, trade uncertainty and COVID-19 issues impacting supply chains and labor costs have continued to put pressure on family farmers. In the first quarter of 2020 there were 170 Chapter 12 bankruptcies nationwide up from 130 during the same period in 2019. Despite an increase in the debt limit from $4.4 Million to $10 Million to allow for more Chapter 12 filings in April of 2019 as part of the Family Farmer Relief Act, less than 1% of those who filed for Chapter 12 protection in the first quarter of 2020 had debt between $4.4-$10…
Even before the Coronavirus/COVID-19 pandemic, construction projects involved significant risks for owners, contractors, subcontractors, and suppliers. Untold changes in circumstances related to the prices and availability of labor and materials, hidden conditions, and acts or events within or outside the parties’ control have the potential to turn a lucrative project into one that leads to ruin.  Accordingly, one of the primary functions of construction contracts is to allocate these risks so it is clear who will pay for increased costs if something unexpected happens. Now that we are in the midst of the pandemic and all of the disruptions that…
Estate litigation can be downright awful. That is not to say that a great good cannot be done by advocating the rights of a Decedent in a financial exploitation action, or to assist an heir where a loved one now deceased was unduly influenced in writing a will. Ultimately, a lawsuit is never so sweet except when victory includes collecting a litigant’s attorney’s fees. Today, in every practice area of law, the rules for collecting attorney’s fees whether as a remedy or a sanction are different with some exception, including attorney fees collected in contract. Attorney’s Fees in Trusts &…
Arizona’s Mechanics’ and Materialmen’s Lien laws are a powerful tool available to contractors, subcontractors, and suppliers to ensure they are paid for the labor and materials they provide.  The risk of foreclosing on a property deters many owners from unreasonably withholding payment when it is due.  But like any tool, you have to use it correctly to get the best results. Arizona’s lien laws are technical (see A.R.S. § 33-981 et seq.)   Avoid common mistakes by making sure you (a) timely serve a complete preliminary notice on each necessary party within 20-days of starting the work or first providing materials…
Arizona’s astonishing number of coronavirus cases have many business owners wondering whether a COVID-19 liability waiver is necessary or worth it. The premise of a liability waiver is that the person signing the waiver explicitly recognizes there are risks involved in the activity with which one is about to engage (skydiving, bungee jumping, race car driving, etc.). In legal terms, this recognition of the risk is used as a defense called “assumption of the risk.” Essentially, this means the business owner should not be liable for injuries a person sustains while engaged in the risk-producing activity because the person was…
Cases involving persons who die or are seriously injured after drowning in a body of water are amongst the most tragic category of personal injury cases. Many times, people will blame themselves or the swimmer for the drowning. This is a common misconception, as people do not understand how individuals behave around bodies of water and the rules associated with them.  While drownings are rarely witnessed, an experienced attorney can often put together how the drowning occurred to determine who is legally responsible for the injury.  This service alone can provide much needed closure to family and friends of victims…