Douglas v. Governing Board of Window Rock – 6/5/2009

June 5, 2009

Arizona Court of Appeals Division One Holds That Acceptance of Rule 68 Offer of Judgment Encompasses Both Individual and Class Claims Unless the Offer Specifies Otherwise.

Plaintiffs sued the Governing Board of Window Rock, both individually and as representatives of a class.  Prior to obtaining class certification, Plaintiffs executed a Rule 68 Offer of Judgment from the Defendant.  Plaintiffs then moved to certify the class, the trial court decreed their motion moot, and this appeal followed.

Division One of the Court of Appeals dismissed Plaintiffs’ appeal for lack of jurisdiction.  The Court found that Plaintiffs were not “aggrieved parties” with standing to appeal because they voluntarily stipulated to the judgment.  The Court of Appeals rejected Plaintiff’s argument that the Rule 68 Offer of Judgment resolved only their individual claims and not their claims as class representatives.  The Court held that a Rule 68 Offer of Judgment encompasses all claims unless the offer specifically says otherwise.

Judge Barker authored the opinion, with Judges Weisberg and Gemmill concurring.