A.R.S. § 12-341.01 provides that in "any contested action arising out of a contract, express or implied, the court may award the successful party reasonable attorney's fees."
Defendant obtained summary judgment on three counts of plaintiff's employment action. The trial court ruled against plaintiff on the two remaining counts. Plaintiff appealed but did not request attorney's fees as provided by Ariz. R. Civ. App. P. 21(c)(1). The court of appeals ruled against plaintiff on four of the five counts. Plaintiff then petitioned for review to the court but did not request an allowance of fees in the petition or by motion before oral argument. The court vacated the opinion of the court of appeals and reversed the judgment of the trial court on four of the five counts. Plaintiff thereafter sought attorneys fees in connection with her petition for review pursuant to Ariz. Rev. Stat. § 12-341.01 and maintained that she was a prevailing party under the statute, as she had succeeded in obtaining the reversal of an interim order of summary judgment in favor of defendant. Plaintiff's request for an allowance of attorney's fees was granted.
Should plaintiff’s request for an allowance of attorney’s fees be allowed pursuant to Ariz. Rev. Stat. § 12-341.01 in connection with her petition for review?
The procedures of Rule 21(c) related to fee requests applied to proceedings on a petition for review as well as to appeals. Because plaintiff obtained a reversal of an unfavorable interim order on appeal, that order was central to the case, and the appeal could be considered as a separate unit. Plaintiff was considered a successful party under Ariz. Rev. Stat. § 12-341.01 and thus entitled to fees.