Garrett v. Platt and Westby Pc


NOTICE: NOT FOR OFFICIAL PUBLICATION. UNDER ARIZONA RULE OF THE SUPREME COURT 111(c), THIS DECISION IS NOT PRECEDENTIAL AND MAY BE CITED ONLY AS AUTHORIZED BY RULE. IN THE ARIZONA COURT OF APPEALS DIVISION ONE JASON GARRETT, Plaintiff/Appellant, v. PLATT AND WESTBY PC, et al., Defendants/Appellees. No. 1 CA-CV 20-0195 FILED 12-29-2020 Appeal from the Superior Court in Maricopa County No. CV2019-094325 The Honorable David J. Palmer, Judge AFFIRMED COUNSEL Blythe Grace PLLC, Phoenix By Robert S. Reder, Alexandra Mijares Nash, Kiri T. Semerdjian Counsel for Plaintiff/Appellant Broening Oberg Woods & Wilson, P.C., Phoenix By Donald Wilson, Jr., Alicyn M. Freeman, Danielle N. Chronister Counsel for Defendants/Appellees GARRETT v. PLATT AND WESTBY, et al. Decision of the Court MEMORANDUM DECISION Judge D. Steven Williams delivered the decision of the Court, in which Presiding Judge Samuel A. Thumma and Judge David D. Weinzweig joined. W I L L I A M S, Judge: ¶1 Plaintiff Jason Garrett appeals the superior court’s dismissal of his claims for legal malpractice and breach of fiduciary duty against the law firms of Platt and Westby, P.C. (the “Platt law firm”) and Westby Law PLLC (the “Westby law firm”), as well as attorneys Elizabeth Westby (“Westby”) and Andrew Rahtz (“Rahtz”) (collectively, the “Defendants”). Because Garrett has shown no error, we affirm. FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY ¶2 In 2014, Garrett, along with Harinder and Raman Takyar (collectively, the “Takyars”) and Donald Pierce, were named as defendants in a lawsuit filed in Maricopa County Superior Court. Garrett and Pierce hired Westby from the Westby law firm as legal counsel; the Takyars hired Rahtz from the Platt law firm. ¶3 In 2015, Garrett fired Westby, who then withdrew as counsel of record for both Garrett and Pierce. Garrett and Pierce represented themselves from that point forward. ¶4 In January 2017, Westby closed the Westby law firm and joined the Platt law firm, which continued, through Rahtz, to represent the Takyars in the lawsuit. Rahtz, on the Takyars behalf, filed a crossclaim against Garrett and Pierce. ¶5 Rahtz purported to serve the crossclaim and later pleadings on Garrett by mail, doing so at the wrong mailing address. When both Garrett and Pierce failed to timely respond to the crossclaim, Rahtz, on the Takyar’s behalf, filed a notice for entry of default. See Ariz. R. Civ. P. 55(a)(2). In response, Pierce prepared a document titled “Answer to Stipulated Motion to Amend” (the “answer”) and contacted Garrett. Pierce, who was living in Prescott, asked Garrett to file the answer with the superior court. Garrett went in person to the court, wrote his own name on the coversheet of the answer, providing his incorrect mailing address Rahtz 2 GARRETT v. PLATT AND WESTBY, et al. Decision of the Court had been using, and filed the document with the clerk’s office. Garrett later said that he wrote the incorrect address on the coversheet at the clerk’s direction, and testified that he “skimmed through [the document],” but he “wasn’t that interested . . . [and] …

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