This article has been published in “The Advocate”, a monthly publication of the Arizona Association for Justice/Arizona Trial Lawyers Association, May-June 2015 issue, @2015 by Steven J. Bruzonsky, Esq.
May/June 2015 Lien Updates
AHCCCS & Arizona State and Political Subdivision Liens – Statute of Limitations:
As previously discussed in the September/October 2014 “Liens Corner” article, Arizona Revised Statutes, Chapter 5 “LIMITATIONS OF ACTIONS” sets forth various Statutes of Limitations under Arizona law. A.R.S. §12-510 states that “the state shall not be barred by the limitations of actions prescribed in this chapter.” I stated my opinion that this A.R.S. §12-510 exemption for the State in regard to the limitation of actions does not apply to AHCCCS liens or t0o Arizona state and political subdivision liens under A.R.S. §12-962, because the authority for Arizona state and political subdivision liens is from the Arizona Revised Statutes, Title 12, Chapter 7 (A.R.S. §§12-961 to 12-964); and as the authority for AHCCCS liens is from A.R.S., Title 12, Chapter 7 (A.R.S. §§12-961 to 12-964) and Title 36, Chapter 29 (A.R.S. §§36-2915 and §36-2956).
However, an unpublished memorandum decision of the Arizona Court of Appeals, Stallings v. Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System Administration, 2010 WL 1487995 (No. 1 CA-CV 09-0264, April 13, 2010), holds that A.R.S. §12-510 applies to AHCCCS liens which are not barred by any Statute of Limitations. In this case, the court states that A.R.S. §12-510 was first enacted in 1901, that the statute is constitutional, and that the Arizona Supreme Court has continued to applyA.R.S. §12-510 in Tuscon Unified Sch. Dist. V. Owens-Corning Fiberglass Corp., 174 Ariz. 336, 849 P.2d 790 (1993) (exempting a school district from the statute of limitations period per A.R.S. §12-510) and in In re Diamond Benefits Life Ins. Co., 184 Ariz. 94, 907 P.2d 63 (1995) (exempting the receiver, appointed pursuant to Arizona law, of an insolvent insurance company from the statute of limitations period per A.R.S. §12-510). Also, the latter case states that “The state is exempt from the statute of limitations under the common law rule of nullum tempus occurrit regi ("time does not run against the king"), which is codified in A.R.S. § 12-510; and cites City of Bisbee v. Cochise County, 78 P.2d 982, 52 Ariz. 1 (1938) (holding that the doctrine applied not only to the state but to all political subdivisions of the state). However, the Stallings case, as an unpublished memorandum decision, may not be cited as legal authority in Arizona courts.