Boruch v. Arizona (6/20/2017)
Arizona Court of Appeals Division One holds that A.R.S. § 12-1802(4) and (6) do not bar a suit to enjoin public officers from exceeding their statutory authority or arbitrarily or unreasonably exercising their discretionary authority.
Residents of three Mesa subdivisions sought to enjoin Mesa and the State from diverting excess storm water onto their properties. Defendants moved to dismiss, arguing that A.R.S. § 12-1802(4) and (6) prohibited the injunction. The superior court granted the motion to dismiss. The residents appealed.
The Court of Appeals reversed.
Section § 12-1802(4) provides that “[a]n injunction shall not be granted . . . (4) To prevent enforcement of a public statute by officers of the law for the public benefit.” A.R.S. § 12-1802(4). The Court held that this does not prevent a court from enjoining conduct that goes beyond an officer’s statutory authority. Because the residents were seeking to enjoin Defendants from exceeding their power, § 12-1802(4) did not bar their suit.
Section § 12-1802(6) provides that “[a]n injunction shall not be granted . . . (6) To prevent the exercise of a public or private office in a lawful manner by the person in possession.” A.R.S. § 12-1802(6). The Court held that § 12-1804(6) does not prevent a court from enjoining conduct that exceeds an officer’s statutory authority or involves the arbitrary or unreasonable exercise of discretionary authority. Because the residents alleged that Defendants were arbitrarily and unreasonably operating the drainage system, § 12-1804(6) did not bar their suit either.
The Court, therefore, concluded that the residents could maintain their suit, and it reversed and remanded.
Judge Norris authored the opinion of the court, in which Presiding Judge Jones and Judge McMurdie joined.