Ultimate Facts Legal Definition

After a bench trial, a trial court must enter findings of fact and conclusions of law when requested to do so before trial. Ariz. R. Civ. P. 52(a); Miller v. McAlister, 151 Ariz. 435, 436-37, 728 P.2d 654, 655-56 (App. 1986).

It is only required to make findings on the ultimate facts, not each subsidiary evidentiary fact on which the ultimate facts are based. Gilliland v. Rodriquez, 77 Ariz. 163, 167, 268 P.2d 334, 337 (1954); Ellingson v. Fuller, 20 Ariz. App. 456, 459-60, 513 P.2d 1339, 1342-43 (1973).

The ultimate facts are "'the essential and determinative facts on which the conclusion was reached.'" Miller v. Pinal County Bd. of Supervisors, 175 Ariz. 296, 300, 855 P.2d 1357, 1361 (1993), quoting Star Realty Co. v. Sellers, 73 N.M. 207, 387 P.2d 319, 320 (N.M. 1963).

The purpose of requiring the trial court to enter findings of fact and conclusions of law is to enable this court to examine the bases for the trial court's decision. Reed v. Reed, 154 Ariz. 101, 103, 740 P.2d 963, 965 (App. 1987); Ellingson, 20 Ariz. App. at 460, 513 P.2d at 1343.

We review any issues of statutory interpretation de novo. See In re $ 315,900.00, 183 Ariz. at 211, 902 P.2d at 354.

But we will not overturn the trial court's findings on this factual issue unless they are clearly erroneous. Arizona Bd. of Regents, 167 Ariz. at 257, 806 P.2d at 351; In re $ 315,900.00, 183 Ariz. at 211, 902 P.2d at 354 (weighing evidence and assessing witness credibility are matters within province of trier of fact and are not disturbed unless clearly erroneous);

see Smith, 146 Ariz. at 432, 706 P.2d at 758; see also People v. Braden, 243 Ill. App. 3d 671, 611 N.E.2d 575, 579, 183 Ill. Dec. 312 (Ill. App. 1993) (whether state proved right to property in forfeiture action by preponderance of evidence overturned only if contrary to manifest weight of evidence).

"'Where there is a dispute in the evidence from which reasonable persons could arrive at different conclusions as to the ultimate facts, we will not disturb the findings of a trial court or the verdict of a jury because we do not agree with the conclusion reached. on the other hand, if there is no evidence in the record which would justify such a conclusion by the triers of fact, it is not only our right, but our duty, to set aside a verdict.'"

Hutcherson, 192 Ariz. 51, P14, 961 P.2d 449, P14, quoting Hutcherson v. City of Phoenix, 188 Ariz. 183, 196, 933 P.2d 1251, 1264 (App. 1996), quoting Spain v. Griffith, 42 Ariz. 304, 305, 25 P.2d 551, 551 (1933).