AZ APP 1: OFFER OF JUDGMENT NEED NOT BE REASONABLE TO TRIGGER RULE 68 SANCTION

Parents sued an emergency room physician for malpractice after their son died from a methadone overdose. The defendants made a Rule 68 offer of $10,000.00. The jury found in favor of the doctor.

The parents argued that they should not have to pay the Rule 68(g) sanctions because the offer was made in bad faith. They asserted that the amount offered was not reasonable if measured against the damages that would have been awarded if they had won.

The Court of Appeals held that there was no standard of reasonableness in the rule,  that the sanctions are “both mandatory and punitive”, and that “it is solely within the purview of the parties to prudently evaluate their causes of action and defenses”.

Stafford v Burns (Nov. 29, 2016);    Ariz. R. Civ. P. 68