Haywood Securities, Inc. v. Hons. Ehrlich/Barker, et al. – 1/10/2007

January 10, 2007

Arizona Supreme Court Holds That a Typed Signature of a Judge in the “/s/ Name” Format on an Electronically Filed Judgment Complies With the Requirement of Rule 58(A) That Judgments Be “Signed.”

A judgment is appealable under A.R.S. § 12-2101 only if it complies with the requirements of Arizona Rule of Civil Procedure 58(a). Rule 58(a) provides that “all judgments shall be in writing and signed by a judge.” In a case pending in the Complex Civil Division, the Superior Court issued two judgments electronically, with “/s/ Kenneth L. Fields” appearing on the signature line. The Court of Appeals held that a “signed” judgment requires a manual signature. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that a typed signature of a judge in the “/s/ Name” format on an electronically filed judgment satisfies Rule 58(a)’s requirement that judgments be “signed.” The Supreme Court reasoned that such an interpretation is consistent with: (1) the ordinary understanding of the term “signed;” (2) prior cases focusing on the intent of the judge; and (3) the new policies pertaining to the electronic filing of court documents. As long as a judge intends that his or her electronic signature formalizes a written judgment, the document complies with Rule 58(a).

Judge Ryan authored the unanimous opinion.