Nystrom v. Massachusetts Casualty Insurance Co

In Nystrom v. Massachusetts Casualty Insurance Co., 148 Ariz. 208, 214, 713 P.2d 1266, 1272 (App. 1986), Division One of this court stated that, although "a trial court in civil cases may not arbitrarily reject testimony from a disinterested and unimpeached witness, the trier of fact is not bound by uncontradicted testimony from an interested witness." The appellate court there, however, was discussing a credibility determination the trial court had had no reason to make at the time of trial, and it directed the trial court to make the determination on remand if necessary. Id. Moreover, there were numerous facts in Nystrom tending to cast doubt on the witness's credibility, including evidence that he had applied for life insurance policies without disclosing the medical conditions for which he was seeking disability insurance coverage. Id. at 210, 713 P.2d at 1268. Consequently, we are hesitant to rely on the Nystrom court's statement suggesting a finder of fact may "arbitrarily" disregard the testimony of an interested witness when the facts of that case clearly demonstrate the fact-finder did not do so, and even if it had, the record supported that conclusion. Id. at 214, 713 P.2d at 1272.