Prendergast v. City of Tempe
In Prendergast v. City of Tempe, 143 Ariz. 14, 691 P.2d 726 (App. 1984), the plaintiffs set forth a general claim for attorneys' fees in their complaint but did not specifically refer to the statutory basis of the claim until filing their cross-motion for summary judgment on the issue of damages. Id. at 22, 691 P.2d at 734.
The Court cited Maricopa County Superior Court Local Rule 3.7(e)(1), which has since been abrogated.
That rule provided that "a claim for attorneys' fees pursuant to A.R.S. 12-341.01 shall be made in the pleadings, in the joint pretrial statement, or by written notice filed and served prior to the trial or other determination on the merits of the cause." Id. at 22 n.8, 691 P.2d at 734 n.8.
The Court held that the defendant was neither "surprised" nor "prejudiced" by the failure to identify the statutory basis of the claim for fees as being under A.R.S. 12-341.01. Id. at 22, 691 P.2d at 734.
This was so because the plaintiffs specifically cited the statutory basis for the claim "'prior to the determination . . . on the merits of the case'" and because the plaintiffs substantially complied with the requirements of Local Rule 3.7(e)(1). Id.