Wilcox v. Arpaio

Summarized by:

  • Court: 9th Circuit Court of Appeals Archives
  • Area(s) of Law: Alternative Dispute Resolution
  • Date Filed: 06-02-2014
  • Case #: 12-16418
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Circuit Judge Tashima for the Court; Circuit Judges Farris and Reinhardt
  • Full Text Opinion

When determining if two parties created an enforceable agreement, resulting in the settling of both federal and state law claims through the use of the same evidence for both sets of claims, federal mediation law is to be applied.

Wilcox and her husband filed various claims that arose under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and various state laws against Maricopa County and its various officials for allegations of wrongful investigation, prosecution and harassment. Due to the Wilcox’s claims and the potential claims that may be brought by numerous other persons, the County adopted an alternative dispute resolution program to resolve these issues. The Wilcox’s asserted that the County agreed to a settlement of $975,000 and filed a motion to enforce the settlement in district court. Following an evidentiary hearing, the district court found that the county employee appointed to oversee the alternative dispute resolution process of the various claims had the authority to settle the Wilcox’s claims and granted the Wilcox’s motion to enforce the agreement. On appeal, the County argued that the evidence heard at the motion hearing, the county employee’s testimony and emails, was privileged under Arizona mediation laws, and inadmissible. The Ninth Circuit held that when determining if two parties found an enforceable agreement, resulting in the settling of both federal and state law claims through the use of the same evidence for both sets of claims, federal mediation law is to be applied. AFFIRMED.

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