Gomez v. Leverton
In Gomez v. Leverton, 19 Ariz. App. 604, 509 P.2d 735 (1973), a surviving spouse brought a wrongful death action as administratrix of her husband's estate on behalf of her children.
The action was brought more than two years after the husband's death, and the trial court found the action barred by the two-year statute of limitations.
On appeal, Division Two construed 12-612(A) and 12-502(A) and agreed with the trial court, reasoning:
We see that only a surviving spouse or the decedent's personal representative may bring an action for wrongful death on behalf of the statutory beneficiaries. The right of action for wrongful death is purely statutory and the action must be brought in the names of the persons to whom the right is given by statute.
We do not agree with the plaintiff that the minority of decedent's children, who are statutory beneficiaries under the wrongful death act, tolls the running of the limitations. A.R.S. 12-502 refers solely to the disability of the person entitled to bring an action. . . . Our wrongful death statutes clearly differentiate between the right to be a plaintiff and the right to be a beneficiary of a wrongful death action. Since the decedent's children are merely in the latter category and are not entitled to bring an action, the tolling statute does not apply. Gomez, 19 Ariz. App. at 606, 509 P.2d at 737.