Reed v. Mitchell & Timbanard, P.C

In Reed v. Mitchell & Timbanard, P.C., 183 Ariz. 313, 318-19, 903 P.2d 621, 626-27 (App. 1995), the Court held a plaintiff in a "simple" legal malpractice action (that is, one in which the attorney's conduct did not involve fraud, intentional conduct, a willful fiduciary breach, or physical contact) could not recover damages for emotional distress when the attorney's negligence only damaged the plaintiff's economic interest and not any personal interest such as the plaintiff's liberty or a family relationship. Reed, 183 Ariz. at 318-19, 903 P.2d at 626-27. In so holding, the Court rejected the plaintiff's reliance on Farr v. Transamerica Occidental Life Ins. Co, noting the tort of bad faith is still "an intentional one -- the defendant insurer must either have knowledge of, or reckless disregard for, the lack of a reasonable basis for denying an insurance claim." Id. at 319, 903 P.2d at 627. The Court also rejected the plaintiff's reliance on Thomas, explaining the basis for our holding in Thomas was "akin to the principle that damages for emotional distress are recoverable where the injury is personal, as opposed to economic." Id.