Elardo, Bragg, Appel & Rossi

Attorney’s Fees – “Successful Party”

HALL V. READ DEVELOPMENT, INC., 229 Ariz. 277, 274 P.3d 1211 (App. Div. 1 04/12/2012). Purchaser of previously-owned home brought action against home builder, alleging breach of implied warranty of habitability and related claims and seeking rescission of purchase. The trial court granted summary judgment to builder on rescission claim and, after jury trial, granted judgment as matter of law in favor of builder on negligent infliction of emotional distress claim, entered judgment in favor of purchaser on implied warranty claim, and entered judgment in favor of builder on intentional infliction of emotional distress claim. Purchaser appealed and builder cross-appealed. HOLDING: The Court of Appeals, Division One, held a “judgment finally obtained” as used in comparison of prejudgment settlement offers to final judgment in order to determine the successful party in a contract action, as would allow award of attorneys’ fees, is inclusive of attorneys’ fees; jury verdict awarding home purchaser $30,000 on breach of implied warranty claim against builder was not a more favorable result for builder than builder’s settlement offer of buying back home for $96,000 plus an additional $20,000, and thus purchaser was not precluded from receiving attorneys’ fees award; and purchaser could not seek rescission of purchase as remedy