Volume 14, No. 9 | April 28, 2015

eye on ethics

Q: Is block-billing unethical?

A: Possibly. Lumping together multiple tasks without specifying how much time was spent on individual or discrete activities makes it difficult to ascertain the reasonableness of the fee. See ER 1.5 and In re Guardianship of Sleeth, 226 Ariz. 171, 244 P.3d 1169 (App. 2010). Federal courts, in determining awards of attorney�s fees, have disapproved of this form of billing, finding that block-billing may overstate actual time spent on particular tasks. Lahiri v. Universal Music & Video Distrib. Corp., 606 F.3d 1216 (9th Cir.2010); Welch v. Met. Life Ins. Co., 480 F.3d 942 (9th Cir.2007).


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member news

More Than 200 Consumers Helped by 21 Volunteer Attorneys at Bar's Annual Law Day Legal Aid Clinics: On Saturday, April 25, the State Bar of Arizona held the 2015 Law Day Legal Aid Clinics where 21 of its members offered free one-on-one legal consultations from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at two locations in Phoenix. More.

In the news

U.S. Supreme Court to Consider Challenge to Execution Drug: Exactly one year after a botched lethal injection, attorneys for other Oklahoma death row inmates were set to ask the U.S. Supreme Court Wednesday to outlaw a sedative used in the procedure � a ruling that could force several states to either find new execution drugs or change the way they put prisoners to death. More.

Disbarred East Valley Attorney Sentenced to Prison in Probate Theft Case: A disbarred East Valley attorney accused of stealing money from his deceased clients' probate accounts has been sentenced to 2 1/2 years in prison after his conviction on theft and fraud charges. More.

Notario Fraud Preys on Those Seeking Help With Immigration Paperwork: Whenever Monica Alegria has an appointment with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, she gets so nervous her head aches. Alegria didn't come into the country illegally nor does she have a criminal record, but she and her husband are facing possible deportation. More.

from the bar

Board of Governors Election for Seat in Pinal County Opens Next Week: Attorneys and judges in Pinal County (Board District 8) will elect one member to a two-year term on the State Bar's governing board. The online election opens May 6, 2015. Meet the candidates here.

Commission Hearing on Formal Charges Against Pima County Justice of the Peace Adam Watters This Friday: The Commission on Judicial Conduct announced that a hearing to consider a formal complaint against Pima County Justice of the Peace Adam Watters will commence at 10 a.m. on Friday, May 1, 2015. The formal complaint alleges that Judge Watters improperly included on his law firm website a photograph of himself in his judicial robe and identifying himself as "a former full-time Judge and active Judge Pro Tem in the Arizona Court system." More.

Applications Being Accepted for Two Vacancies on the Maricopa County Superior Court Through May 4: Applications are being accepted for two vacancies on the Superior Court in Maricopa County created by the retirement of Judge Linda Miles and Judge Robert Miles. The Maricopa County Commission on Trial Court Appointments will review applications, interview selected applicants and recommend at least three nominees for each vacancy to Governor Doug Ducey, who will appoint the new judges. More.

Governor Doug Ducey Announces Judicial Vacancy in Gila County: Governor Doug Ducey announced he has begun accepting applications for a vacant judicial position on the Gila County Superior Court. The vacancy was created by the retirement of Judge Peter Cahill. Applications will be accepted until 5 p.m. on May 29, 2015. More.

Electronic Filing Into Pima Superior Court: Last week, the first phase of mandatory electronic filing into Pima Superior Court began. AZTurboCourt became available for general use for Pima filings on February 16th following a pilot period. Chief Justice Bales has signed A.O. 2015-82, replacing 2015-11 and providing clarification regarding e-filing exclusions. As a reminder, law firms and attorneys that have names beginning with A-M are currently mandated to e-file civil submissions into Pima Superior Court. The remaining law firms are affected by the mandate beginning May 26, 2015.

Did You Miss the February 2 Deadline to File Your State Bar Annual Statement and Dues? You can still file, but late filing fees are now in effect. Your 2015 statement is available for you to complete, review and submit online at www.azbar.org/fees. A paper statement will not be mailed to you. Payment can be made by credit card or E-check through the Bar's secure website. When you submit your statement and submit dues online, your receipt will include a temporary Bar Card for use until the permanent one is mailed to you.

Earn Your CLE Credits at the State Bar Convention! With 49 seminars to choose from, ranging from "Civil Litigation Rules and Case Law Update" to "The Future of the Billable Hour and Fee Agreements," you can get all the CLE you need in three days! Register now online at azbar.org/convention.

Developing Lawyers as Leaders--Bar Leadership Institute is now accepting applications for the 2015-16 Class: Now in its 9th year, the BLI is designed to equip Arizona lawyers with the knowledge, skills and connections necessary to serve as leaders in their profession and local communities. Application deadline is June 19, 2015. For more information about the program or to apply, click here.

Invitation to ABA Women Rainmakers Free Workshop in May: Don't miss "FINDING YOUR TRUE GRIT: The Secret Ingredient in Your Success." In this interactive moderated program you will discover the key traits of "grit and growth mindset" that many successful women lawyers possess. There are limited seats available in Scottsdale and Tucson. More.

Make Your Practice More Productive with UPS: UPS offers earlier overnight delivery to more ZIP Codes than FedEx, and you can save up to 34% with the UPS� Savings Program for State Bar of Arizona members, even if you already have a UPS account. To enroll and start saving, visit savewithups.com/azbar or call 1.800.MEMBERS (1.800.636.2377), M-F, 8 a.m. � 6 p.m. EST.

Save at OfficeMax: As a State Bar Member, you can save 31%-88% on office supplies, equipment and furniture. For your discount account, call 800.248.6343 or email advantageprograms@officemax.com.

25 Ways to Save More: To see all 25 companies offering State Bar member discounts, please click here.

court decisions

Arizona Court of Appeals
Division One
Division Two

April 21, 2015 - 1 CA-CV 13-0257 - Timothy Lee v. M and H Enterprises and Wal-Mart Stores
1. Whether a landowner may be held vicariously liable under Restatement � 422 for injuries suffered by an employee of an independent contractor performing work on the landowner's property. 2. Whether a court may grant summary judgment in favor of a landowner based on a lack of duty under Restatement � 414 analysis, notwithstanding that the issue of duty is inextricably linked with the scope of retained control, a question of fact that ordinarily should be left to a jury. 3. Whether an injured employee who has recovered against his or her direct employer (the subcontractor) for work-related injuries through the workers' compensation system may pursue a negligence claim against the general contractor that hired his or her employer. Read Opinion.

April 3, 2015 - 2 CA-CV 2014-0107 - Deborah C. Baker v. Matthew M. Meyer
In a dispute between divorced parents over their child attending an out-of-state boarding school, did the trial court err in applying factors addressing a child's placement at a local school when the mother objected to the out-of-state placement on grounds it would greatly reduce her parenting time, and in light of A.R.S �� 25-103(B)(1) and 25-403(A) requiring consideration of parenting time in determining the child's best interests? Read Opinion.


9th Circuit Court of Appeals

April 27, 2105 - 15-35162 - Jocelyn Allen v. The Boeing Co.
In a class action alleging that for over 40 years Boeing released toxins into the groundwater around its facility in Auburn, Washington, and that Landau was negligent in its investigation and remediation of the pollution, the district court's judgment is: 1) vacated as to the order remanding the case to state court, where plaintiffs' actions do not come within the local single event exception to federal jurisdiction under the Class Action Fairness Act (CAFA); 2) affirmed as to the denial of Boeing's allegation of fraudulent joinder, and accordingly there is not complete diversity; and 3) remanded to district court for initial consideration of whether plaintiffs' actions come within the local controversy exception to federal jurisdiction under CAFA. Read Opinion.

April 24, 2015 - 13-16254 - Arizona Libertarian Party v. Ken Bennett, Secretary of State
In a suit alleging Arizona's voter registration form violates the First and Fourteenth Amendments, the district court's summary judgment to the State is affirmed where: 1) plaintiffs failed to adduce evidence that the revised registration form actually discourages or prevents voters from registering with minor parties; 2) at most, Ariz. Rev. Stat. section 16-152(A)(5) imposes a de minimus burden on plaintiffs' First and Fourteenth Amendment rights; 3) plaintiffs failed to meet their burden of demonstrating that section 16-152(A)(5) is not rationally related to a legitimate state interest; and 4) section 16-152(A)(5) helps ensure that election officials will easily be able to determine the preferred part of most of Arizona's voters in a manner that the State has deemed to be cost efficient and less prone to clerical error. Read Opinion.



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