The Brief - September 2018

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Brief Masthead 2018 CD

Vol. 14, No. 9                                                                        September 2018

New court rules, new court forms

August and September are good months to review the forms you create or download. Legislation that went into effect on August 3 required updates to court forms to conform to the legislative changes. The Supreme Court also conducted its rules agenda in August and approved new or modified rules. Although rule changes usually take effect the following January 1, some may become effective earlier. Those rule changes often require updates to court forms. To ensure you’re using the latest version of court forms, periodically see the Clerk’s website at and the Superior Court’s website at The Supreme Court will hold another rules agenda in December, so look for additional changes effective January 1 that weren’t part of the August rules agenda.

Civil cover sheets

Civil cover sheets were recently updated to reflect the court rules’ case tiering process. Although amounts in controversy and case tiers usually correlate, there are situations where the complexity or likelihood of litigation make a different tier appropriate. Unfortunately, the Clerk’s office is receiving cover sheets where no amount in controversy and no tier are selected, which causes problems with properly assigning cases. Remember to review Civil Rule 26.2, “Discovery Tier or Amount Pleaded” as a completed civil cover sheet with amounts and case tier information is required under Civil Rule 8(g).

Election cases spike

Election challenges and statewide ballot initiative challenges are filed in the Superior Court in Maricopa County and are subject to an expedited hearing and decision schedule under statute. The need to print ballots with the correct information demands that these cases get through the trial and appellate courts timely. In 2016, more than 50 election challenges and appeals were filed in Superior Court at this point in the cycle. That’s a busy season, until compared to this year, when more than 80 election challenges and appeals were filed. Perhaps the most publicized case this season involved a ballot issue, where the Clerk’s office issued approximately 1,500 subpoenas for witnesses and processed approximately 6,000 related hearing exhibits. The Clerk’s office appreciates the coordination and help it gets from the parties, the Superior Court, the Recorder’s office, the numerous staff and legal support staff involved, and others who ensure these important aspects of the democratic process work.