Yes on Prop 200 v. Napolitano – 6/28/2007

July 6, 2007

Arizona Court of Appeals Division One Finds That Trial Court Erred When it Dismissed Case and Denied Plaintiffs’ Motion to Amend Complaint to Assert Claims for Declaratory Relief Against Governor and Other State Officials.

Plaintiff filed a complaint seeking declaratory and mandamus relief from Arizona’s Attorney General, Secretary of State, and Governor regarding the State’s implementation of Proposition 200. The trial court dismissed the complaint for failure to state a claim and denied Plaintiff’s motion to amend the complaint as futile. This appeal followed.

The court of appeals affirmed the dismissal of all pending and proposed mandamus claims against all defendants, noting that none of the defendants had failed to perform a duty required by law. The court also affirmed the dismissal of the claims for declaratory relief against the Attorney General and Secretary of State, noting that the complaint failed to assert facts necessary for claims against them. The court reversed the dismissal of the claim for declaratory relief against the Governor, finding to successfully bring a declaratory action challenging the State’s implementation of Proposition 200, Plaintiffs must name as a defendant an entity or official that has the ability to control the implementation of that proposition, and that the Governor was the appropriate official. The court also reversed the trial court’s decision to deny the motion to amend the complaint to seek declaratory relief from various agency officials in their official capacity, finding that Plaintiffs set forth sufficient facts to establish a real dispute based on an actual controversy.

Judge Snow authored the opinion; Judges Lankford and Timmer concurred.