Johnson Utilities LLC v. Arizona Corporation


IN THE SUPREME COURT OF THE STATE OF ARIZONA JOHNSON UTILITIES, L.L.C., AN ARIZONA LIMITED LIABILITY COMPANY, Petitioner, V. ARIZONA CORPORATION COMMISSION; TOM FORESE, BOB BURNS, ANDY TOBIN, BOYD W. D UNN AND JUSTIN O LSON, IN THEIR OFFICIAL CAPACITIES AS MEMBERS OF THE ARIZONA CORPORATION COMMISSION Respondents. No. CV-19-0105-PR Filed July 31, 2020 Arizona Corporation Commission No. WS-02987A-18-0050 The Hon. Sarah N. Harping, Administrative Law Judge AFFIRMED Opinion of the Court of Appeals, Division One 246 Ariz. 287 (App. 2019) VACATED COUNSEL: Daniel E. Fredenberg, Christian C.M. Beams, Fredric D. Bellamy, (argued) Fredenberg Beams LLC, Phoenix; Jeffrey W. Crockett, Crockett Law Group PLLC, Phoenix, Attorneys for Johnson Utilities, L.L.C. Robin R. Mitchell (argued), Naomi E. Davis, Maureen A. Scott, Wesley C. Van Cleve, Phoenix, Attorneys for Arizona Corporation Commission Jason D. Gellman, EPCOR Water Arizona, Inc.; and Michael T. Hallam, Lewis Roca Rothgerber Christie LLP, Phoenix, Attorneys for Amicus Curiae EPCOR Water Arizona Inc. JOHNSON UTILITIES, L.L.C. V. ARIZONA CORPORATION COMMISSION, ET AL. Opinion of the Court Michele L. Van Quathem, Law Offices of Michele Van Quathem PLLC, Phoenix, Attorney for Amicus Curiae Home Builders Association of Central Arizona and Southern Arizona Home Builders Association Meghan H. Grabel, Osborn Maledon, P.A., Phoenix, Attorneys for Amicus Curiae Arizona Water Company Evan Bolick, Jonathan Udell, and Court S. Rich, Rose Law Group, PC, Scottsdale, Attorneys for Amicus Curiae Trilogy Encanterra Construction, LLC Scott S. Wakefield, Hienton & Curry P.L.L.C., and Daniel Pozefsky, Residential Utility Consumer Office, Phoenix, Attorneys for Amicus Curiae Residential Utility Consumer Office Mark Brnovich, Arizona Attorney General, Jeffrey Cantrell, Assistant Attorney General, Phoenix, Attorneys for Amicus Curiae Arizona Department of Environmental Quality Kent Volkmer, Pinal County Attorney, Kevin Costello, Deputy County Attorney, Florence, Attorneys for Amicus Curiae Pinal County Kevin Nguyen, Struck Love Bojanowski & Acedo, PLC, Chandler, Attorney for Amicus Curiae National Association of Water Companies JUSTICE GOULD authored the opinion of the Court, in which CHIEF JUSTICE BRUTINEL, VICE CHIEF JUSTICE TIMMER and JUSTICES LOPEZ, MONTGOMERY and PELANDER (RETIRED) * joined. JUSTICE BOLICK concurred in part and dissented in part. JUSTICE GOULD, opinion of the Court: ¶1 The Arizona Corporation Commission (“Commission”) has permissive authority under article 15, section 3 of the Arizona Constitution to “make and enforce reasonable . . . orders for the convenience, comfort, [ ] ∗ Justice James P. Beene has recused himself from this case. Pursuant to article 6, section 3 of the Arizona Constitution, Justice John Pelander (RETIRED), was designated to sit in this matter. 2 JOHNSON UTILITIES, L.L.C. V. ARIZONA CORPORATION COMMISSION, ET AL. Opinion of the Court safety, and . . . health” of the public at-large. We hold that this authority permits the Commission to appoint an interim manager to operate a public service corporation (“PSC”) for the purpose of remedying unsafe and inadequate facilities, services, and equipment posing a health and safety risk to its customers, employees, and the public. ¶2 As the parties conceded at oral argument, the sole issue before this Court is whether …

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