Hilgeman v. American Mortgage Securities, Inc

In Hilgeman v. American Mortgage Securities, Inc, 196 Ariz. 215, 221-24, PP 23-31, 994 P.2d 1030, 1036-39 (App. 2000), the plaintiffs expressly declined a court reporter at the default hearing. Id. at 222, P 25, 994 P.2d at 1037. There was therefore no testimonial evidence in the record on appeal related to the plaintiffs' damages claims. Id. Nor was there any documentary evidence -- the only indication of the basis for the trial court's decision was its own minute entry. Id. That minute entry showed that immediately after the hearing, the plaintiffs were awarded the exact amount of damages they requested. See id. at 223, P 28, 994 P.2d at 1038. In light of the complete absence of a record and the fact that the default award was made immediately following the hearing in the exact amount requested by the plaintiffs, the court of appeals found that "exceptional circumstances exist to justify setting aside the punitive damage award." Id. at P 30.