Lee v. ING Inv. Mgmt., LLC – 6/16/2016

June 20, 2016

Arizona Court of Appeals Division One holds that a Rule 68 offer of judgment resolves all claims, precluding appeal of any prior interlocutory orders.

Employee sued his former employer for failing to pay an amount allegedly owed under a severance agreement.  The parties filed cross-motions for summary judgment as to whether the employee was entitled to treble damages under A.R.S. § 23-355.  The trial court denied both motions.  The employer offered the employee a Rule 68 offer of judgment, which the employee accepted.  The trial court entered the judgment and awarded the employee a portion of his requested attorneys’ fees.  The employer appealed the attorneys’ fee award, and the employee appealed the decision (i) to only award a portion of his fees and (ii) denying the employee treble damages.

The Court of Appeals upheld the trial court’s fee award decision, holding that neither party presented sufficient evidence to overturn the discretion left to the trial court to render attorneys’ fee awards.  The Court of Appeals also denied the employee’s appeal of the treble damage issue, explaining that by accepting the Rule 68 offer of judgment, the employee agreed to end the litigation on all claims encompassed by his complaint, including those ruled on in the trial court’s summary judgment order. 

Judge Gemmill authored the opinion; Presiding Judge Thumma and Judge Portley concurred.