Stein v. Sonus USA, Inc – 1/9/2007

January 12, 2007

Arizona Court of Appeals Division Two Affirms Trial Court’s Decision That Hearing Aids Are Not Subject to “Assistive Device” Warranty Statutes.

Appellant Walter Stein filed a complaint against Appellee Sonus based on alleged defects in hearing aids he had purchased from Sonus, seeking relief under Arizona’s assistive device warranty statutes. The trial court granted summary judgment to Sonus, finding that a hearing aid is not an “assistive device” as defined in A.R.S. § 44-1351(1). This appeal followed. Acknowledging that the statute’s text allows for more than one rational interpretation and that there is uncertainty about its meaning, the court applied rules of statutory construction and examined “the statute’s history, context, effects and consequences, and spirit and purpose.” Based on legislative history, the court concluded that the legislature purposely deleted hearing aids from the assistive device warranty statutes and did not intend that hearing aids be included.

Judge Howard authored the opinion; Judges Pelander and Vasquez concurred.