Ames v. State

In Ames v. State, 143 Ariz. 548, 694 P.2d 836 (App. 1985), the Court found that the State received sufficient notice of the plaintiff's claim even though the plaintiff did not serve the notice on the particular state agency involved in the action. In Ames, the plaintiff sued the State for damages arising out of a collision at a railroad crossing. Id. at 549, 694 P.2d at 837. Prior to filing his complaint against the State, the plaintiff sent a notice of claim to the Arizona Corporation Commission, the governor, and the State attorney general. Id. During the course of discovery, the plaintiff learned that the Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT) was involved in the design, construction, and maintenance of the crossing device at issue and he amended his complaint to add ADOT as a defendant. Id. at 550, 694 P.2d at 838. On appeal from a jury verdict, the State argued that the plaintiff's failure to file a notice of claim with ADOT invalidated his claim against the State. Id. at 550-51, 694 P.2d at 838-39. The Court rejected this argument, noting that the State, and not an agency thereof, was the real party in interest in the action and that it had received sufficient notice from plaintiff's notice of claim prior to the institution of the lawsuit. Id. at 551-52, 694 P.2d at 839-40.