Safeway Stores, Inc. v. Maricopa County Superior Court
In Safeway Stores, Inc. v. Maricopa County Superior Court, 19 Ariz. App. 210, 505 P.2d 1383 (Ariz. Ct. App. 1973), a complaint alleging a claim for personal injuries was filed and signed only by the plaintiff's husband. The plaintiff's husband was not a party or a licensed attorney. No further action in regard to the complaint was taken until approximately fourteen months later, when the plaintiff signed and filed an amended complaint.
The defendant moved for summary judgment, claiming that the original complaint signed by the plaintiff's husband was not valid for purposes of commencing an action and that therefore no action was commenced within the applicable limitations period. The defendant's motion was denied. On appeal, the appellate court held that the original complaint signed by the plaintiff's husband was insufficient to toll the statute of limitations.
In addition, the court noted that pursuant to Arizona's Rule 11--which provided that a party who is not represented by an attorney shall sign his or her own pleading--the failure of the plaintiff to sign her own pleading was not a mere technical irregularity subject to correction by amendment after the expiration of the statute of limitations.
The court thus held that there was no valid complaint filed prior to the expiration of the statute of limitations and, therefore, the amended complaint could not relate back to the original filing date. It is unclear from the court's opinion whether Arizona's Rule 11 allowed for an unsigned complaint to be cured if promptly signed by the party or the party's attorney, as does I.R.C.P. 11(a)(1).