Governor signs bill to ensure access to appeals process, promote better environment 

PHOENIX – The Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry today thanked Gov. Jan Brewer for signing into law a bill that promotes an improved legal environment in Arizona.

Senate Bill 1212, sponsored by Sen. Al Melvin (R-Tucson), places monetary caps on appeal bonds.

At the conclusion of a trial, the plaintiff or defendant has the right to appeal the judgment. But to stay the execution of the judgment and protect assets from collection, a defendant must post an appeal bond. Those bonds are usually set at a level equal to the full amount of the judgment, so in cases with large judgments, a defendant could be forced to cease operations or liquidate assets in order to post the bond. To stave off bankruptcy, defendants often seek a settlement, effectively cutting them off from the appeals process and their full due process.

Prior to the passage of S.B. 1212, Arizona was one of only a handful of states that did not have a cap on appeal bonds. As a result, the Arizona legal environment was ripe for plaintiffs’ attorneys seeking large judgments based on the hope of forcing settlements rather than on a case’s merits.

“The Arizona business community applauds Sen. Melvin and the Legislature for recognizing that Arizona’s legal environment is critical to our ability to attract and retain good jobs,” Chamber president and CEO Glenn Hamer said. “The governor’s signature underscores her reputation for doing everything she can to win back the jobs we’ve lost in this Great Recession, which includes creating an environment where businesses can concentrate on investment and innovation rather than on fending off lawsuits.”

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