Denton v. Superior Court

In Denton v. Superior Court, 190 Ariz. 152, 155, 945 P.2d 1283, 1286 (1997), the supreme court held that "representatives of elder abuse victims may recover damages for pain and suffering endured by the victims, notwithstanding the death of the victim." Id. at 157, 945 P.2d at 1288. In Denton, a husband filed suit against his wife's nursing home alleging negligence, breach of contract and a statutory cause of action under APSA, 46-455(B). Id. at 153, 945 P.2d at 1284. The wife died prior to the resolution of the action and the nursing home moved for partial summary judgment on the claim for damages for pain and suffering. Id. The nursing home relied on the survival statute, A.R.S. 14-3110, which precludes victims of elder abuse and their representatives from recovering damages for pain and suffering after the death of the victim. Id. at 155, 945 P.2d at 1286. The supreme court accepted jurisdiction of the case to address the inherent conflict between 46-455 and the survival statute. Id. at 154, 945 P.2d at 1285. After considering the legislative intent and the plain language of the statutes, the supreme court found that the "legislature intended to provide victims of elder abuse or their representatives with the ability to recover damages for pain and suffering even if the victim dies prior to judgment." Id. at 157, 945 P.2d at 1288. The supreme court specifically relied on the plain language of subsection O, which stated: "The cause of action or the right to bring a cause of action pursuant to subsection B or C of this section shall not be limited or affected by the death of the incapacitated or vulnerable adult." Id. at 156, 945 P.2d at 1287.