DeLoach v. Alfred, 2

CourtCourt of Appeals of Arizona
Citation952 P.2d 320,191 Ariz. 82
Docket NumberCA-SA,No. 2,2
Parties, 252 Ariz. Adv. Rep. 55, 253 Ariz. Adv. Rep. 35 Kevin G. DeLOACH and Yvonne DeLoach, husband and wife, Petitioners, v. The Honorable Michael ALFRED, a Judge of the Superior Court of the State of Arizona, County of Pima, Respondent, and Kevin E. HAMBLIN, a single person, Real Party in Interest. 97-0071.
Decision Date23 September 1997

Page 320

952 P.2d 320
191 Ariz. 82, 252 Ariz. Adv. Rep. 55, 253 Ariz. Adv. Rep. 35
Kevin G. DeLOACH and Yvonne DeLoach, husband and wife, Petitioners,
The Honorable Michael ALFRED, a Judge of the Superior Court of the State of Arizona, County of Pima, Respondent,
Kevin E. HAMBLIN, a single person, Real Party in Interest.
No. 2 CA-SA 97-0071.
Court of Appeals of Arizona,
Division 2, Department B.
Sept. 23, 1997.
Review Granted March 17, 1998.

Page 321

Chandler, Tullar, Udall & Redhair, LLP, by D.B. Udall and Christopher R. Pennison, Tucson, for Petitioners.

King, Frisch & Allen, P.C. by Ron Allen, Tucson, for Real Party in Interest.


HOWARD, Judge.

Petitioners Kevin and Yvonne DeLoach, defendants in the underlying tort action that arose out of an automobile accident in Tennessee, seek special action review of the respondent trial court's denial of their motion for summary judgment. The motion was based on the running of Tennessee's one-year statute of limitations. We have accepted jurisdiction of the special action because it raises only an issue of law, the issue is of statewide importance, and our resolution of the issue ends the litigation. Sanchez v. Coxon, 175 Ariz. 93, 854 P.2d 126 (1993).

Real party in interest Kevin Hamblin, a California resident, was involved in an auto accident in Tennessee on June 19, 1994. He filed the underlying action in Arizona on June 19, 1996, naming as defendants Budget Rent-A-Car of Memphis, whose principal place of business is Tennessee; Wilbert Moore and his wife, Tennessee residents; and the DeLoaches, Arizona residents. Budget has apparently been dismissed from the action, and counsel conceded at oral argument in this special action that the Moores remain parties.

The DeLoaches filed a motion for summary judgment based on the one-year statute of limitations for tort actions in Tennessee. Tenn.Code Ann. § 28-3-104. They argued that the locus of the accident, rather than the forum, determines which statute of limitations applies. Hamblin opposed the motion, urging the trial court to apply this state's two-year statute of limitations. A.R.S. § 12-542. He argued that Arizona applies its own law to procedural matters and that both Arizona's and Tennessee's limitation provisions are procedural. The trial court agreed and denied the motion for summary judgment.

In general, jurisdictions use one of two approaches to decide choice of law questions involving conflicting statutes of limitations. Under the traditional approach, statutes of limitation are viewed as presumptively procedural, in which case the law of the forum applies. Arizona has historically applied this approach, Eschenhagen v. Zika, 144 Ariz. 213, 696 P.2d 1362 (App.1985); State of Michigan v. First National Bank of Arizona, 17 Ariz.App. 45, 495 P.2d 485 (1972), which was also the approach adopted in §§ 142 and 143 of the Restatement (Second) of Conflict of Laws (1971), before they were revised in 1988. The unrevised sections provided:

§ 142. Statute of Limitations of Forum

(1) An action will not be maintained if it is barred by the statute of limitations of the forum, including a provision borrowing the statute of limitations of another state.

(2) An action will be maintained if it is not barred by the statute of limitations of the forum, even though it would be barred by the statute of limitations of another state, except as stated in § 143.

§ 143. Foreign Statute of Limitations Barring the Right

An action will not be entertained in another state if it is barred in the state of the otherwise applicable law by a statute of limitations which bars the right and not merely the remedy.

To apply these sections, a court must determine whether the statute of limitations of another state is substantive or procedural, not always an easy task.

The traditional, substantive/procedural approach has been the subject of much criticism. See, e.g., Keeton v. Hustler Magazine, Inc., 131 N.H. 6, 549 A.2d 1187 (1988) (Souter, J., dissenting); see also Barry Ravech, Civil Procedure--Conflicts of Law--Statutes of Limitations, 80 Mass.L.Rev. 126 (1995); Louise Weinberg, Choosing Law: The Limitations Debates, 1991 U.Ill.L.Rev. 683. Jurisdictions thus began adopting what has been referred to as the interest analysis approach,

Page 322

which was ultimately adopted in the 1988 revision of the Restatement. The revision eliminated § 143 and provides as follows in revised § 142:

Whether a claim will be maintained against the defense of the statute of limitations is determined under the principles stated in § 6. In general, unless the exceptional circumstances of the case make such a result unreasonable:

(1) The forum will apply its own statute of limitations barring the claim.

(2) The forum will apply its own statute of limitations permitting the claim unless:

(a) maintenance of the claim would serve no substantial interest of the forum; and

(b) the claim would be barred under the statute of limitations of a state having a more significant relationship to the parties and the occurrence.

Under the interest analysis approach, a court analyzes the conflict between limitations as it would other conflict-of-law issues. Id. See also Margaret Ross Grossman, Statutes of Limitations and the Conflict of Laws: Modern Analysis, 1980 Ariz. St. L.J. 1.

As previously stated, Arizona historically has applied the traditional approach. See Monroe v. Wood, 150 Ariz. 411, 724 P.2d 30 (1986); Ross v. Ross, 96 Ariz. 249, 393 P.2d 933 (1964); Brandler v. Manuel Trevizo Hay Co., 154 Ariz. 96, 740 P.2d 958 (App.1987); First National Bank; Weller v. Weller, 14 Ariz.App. 42, 480 P.2d 379 (1971). In Brandler, however, Division One of this court discussed the two approaches, without deciding which this state should follow, presumably because the outcome there was the same regardless of which approach was used. We note, moreover, that at the time Brandler was decided, the Restatement had not yet been revised. Here, the issue has been placed squarely before us, and the outcome depends on the approach we choose. 1

In deciding which approach to adopt, we rely, first, on the general principle that in the absence of prior decisions to the contrary, this state will follow the Restatement whenever applicable. Jesik v. Maricopa County Community College Dist., 125 Ariz. 543, 611 P.2d 547 (1980); Porter v. Porter, 101 Ariz. 131, 416 P.2d 564 (1966); MacNeil v. Perkins, 84 Ariz. 74, 324 P.2d 211 (1958); Bristor v. Cheatham, 75 Ariz. 227, 255 P.2d 173 (1953); Ingalls v. Neidlinger, 70 Ariz. 40, 216 P.2d 387 (1950); Mott v. Eddins, 151 Ariz. 54, 725 P.2d 761 (App.1986). "One of the reasons, if not the main reason that we follow the Restatement in the absence of prior Arizona decisions, is that the Restatement is supposed to represent the general law on the subject in the United States." Cannon v. Dunn, 145 Ariz. 115, 116, 700 P.2d 502, 503 (App.1985).

Neither Monroe nor Ross decided the issue that is before us. Monroe, involved application of A.R.S. § 12-507, Arizona's borrowing statute. See n. 5, infra. And, Monroe, like Brandler, was decided before the Restatement was revised. Although the court in Monroe stated that the traditional rule was the law in Arizona, that law was...

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2 cases
  • DeLoach v. Alfred, CV-97-0484-PR
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Arizona
    • June 9, 1998
    ...918 P.2d 540, 542 (1996). The court of appeals followed the interest analysis approach of revised RESTATEMENT § 142. DeLoach v. Alfred, 191 Ariz. 82, 85-86, 952 P.2d 320, 323-24 (App.1997). The parties do not challenge the use of that ¶5 Applying revised section 142 to the facts in this cas......
  • In re Southwest Supermarkets, LLC, Bankruptcy No. 01-14805 EDF-RJH to 01-14812-PHX-RJH
    • United States
    • United States Bankruptcy Courts. Ninth Circuit. U.S. Bankruptcy Court — District of Arizona
    • August 25, 2004
    ...Goldfield Corp., 637 F.2d 680, 682 (9th Cir.1981). 19 Western Group Nurseries, No. MC 96-0081-PHX-SMM at 13-14, citing DeLoach v. Alfred, 191 Ariz. 82, 952 P.2d 320, 322 n. 2 (App.1998), rev'd on other grounds, 192 Ariz. 28, 960 P.2d 628, 629-31 (1998) and Wang Labs., Inc. v. Kagan, 990 F.2......

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