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August 2021

Multi-Office Team Secures Swift Victory on Appeal for National Client

Gordon Rees Scully Mansukhani Chicago Partner Avanti Bakane and Phoenix Senior Counsel Mary Curtin represented the firm’s national debt buyer client in opposing an appeal from a trial court ruling which granted summary judgment to client.

Appellants, represented by repeat consumer defense counsel, argued that the trial court erred in entering judgment against them because the firm’s client's supporting documents were not properly authenticated and were not admissible business records.  The team argued in response that, in cases where one party seeks to admit business records received from another entity, Arizona law does not require the receiving custodian of records to have personal knowledge of the creating entity’s record keeping. 

Leading the charge, at oral argument, Curtin raised irrefutable points and focused upon the evidence presented in favor of account stated, an important theory to prevail - and thereby make good law - upon in the industry.

On July 26, 2021, just four days after argument, the Arizona Court of Appeals Division II issued its memorandum decision affirming summary judgment in favor of the firm’s client. The Court agreed with the team in all respects, finding that (1) an employee of an organization may authenticate records created by third parties when the organization regularly relies on the information that third parties submit as part of their ordinary course of business and (2) consumer credit card debt may be proved as an account stated.

The decision is a significant victory, not only as a clear declaration of Arizona law but also as strong persuasive authority supporting an expansive application of both the business records hearsay exception and account stated claims in all jurisdictions.

Chicago associate Richard Daniels also provided invaluable assistance in briefing the appeal.

Avanti D. Bakane
Richard E. Daniels