Kondaur Capital Corp. v. Pinal County – 6/27/2014

July 18, 2014

Arizona Court of Appeals Division Two Holds That Eviction of Home’s Occupants While Case Is Pending Moots a Property Owner’s Appeal Regarding Arizona Eviction Procedures.

Kondaur Capital bought a house at a trustee’s sale.  After the occupants would not leave voluntarily, Kondaur commenced a forcible detainer/eviction action and obtained a judgment against the occupants.  To enforce the judgment, Kondaur served the judgment and a writ of restitution on the Pinal County Sheriff’s Office (PCSO), but PCSO did not act for months.  Kondaur added PCSO as a defendant, seeking declaratory relief on various issues related to eviction procedures and the proper procedure for enforcing eviction orders.  The trial court granted Kondaur summary judgment, but ruled against Kondaur on some issues.  In the meantime, the occupants were evicted.  Kondaur appealed on all issues.

The Court of Appeals held that Kondaur lacked standing to appeal some issues and dismissed the appeal as moot.  As to standing, the Court held that Kondaur could not seek review of issues on which it had prevailed, explaining that a party may only appeal to the extent it is “aggrieved” by a judgment.

As to the remaining issues, the Court dismissed the appeal as moot because the PCSO evicted the home’s occupants while the case was pending.  Although Arizona does not have a “case or controversy” requirement, Arizona courts will not consider moot issues unless the issue is “of great public importance or an issue capable of repetition yet evading review.”  Kondaur argued that the case was of great public importance because evictions happen often and litigants need guidance on “how these issues should be dealt with.”  The Court disagreed, noting that the dispute and resulting trial court ruling reflected the specific facts of this case, meaning that any resolution was unlikely to have a broad impact beyond this case. 

Furthermore, the issue was not “capable of repetition yet evading review.”  For an issue to be “capable of repetition,” a party must show that the same dispute will recur with the same complaining party.  Nothing in the record indicated that Kondaur had other properties in Pinal County.  And even if similar issues were to arise in connection with another property, it is likely that there would be sufficient time for a court to address them, just as there was in this case.

Judge Espinosa authored the unanimous opinion; Judges Kelly and Eckerstrom concurred.