Martinez v. The Industrial Commission of Arizona – 10/26/2006

October 30, 2006

Arizona Court of Appeals Division One Holds That a Petition For Special Action Mistakenly Filed With the Industrial Commission of Arizona Will Be Deemed Timely Filed With the Court of Appeals.

The Claimant in this case timely filed a petition for special action from an adverse decision by the Industrial Commission of Arizona (ICA). However, Claimant filed the petition with the ICA rather than with Division One of the Court of Appeals as required by A.R.S. § 23-943.H. The petition was ultimately forwarded to the clerk of the court after the time for appeal had expired. The Court, sua sponte, examined its jurisdiction over the special action. The Court noted that pursuant to A.R.S. § 12-120.00.B (2003), and ARCAP 4(a) a petition mistakenly but timely filed in division two or the supreme court will be transferred to division one and deemed timely filed. Although both the statute and the rule refer to an appeal filed in the incorrect “court or division,” because the ICA functions as a quasi-judicial body, the Court held that Rule 4(a) should similarly be applied to petitions filed with the ICA. Thus, a petition timely but mistakenly filed with the ICA must be transmitted to division one where it will be deemed timely filed. The Court cautioned, however, that ARCAP 4(a) “is not intended as a rule of filing convenience for lawyers.” Opinion at ¶ 12 (quoting Wilkinson v. Fabry, 177 Ariz. 506, 507, 869 P.2d 182, 183 (App. 1992)).

Judge Orozco authored the unanimous opinion joined by Judges Hall and Timmer.