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Anderson v. Valley Union High School, District #22 - 2/16/2012

Arizona Court of Appeals Division Two Holds That Court of Appeals Lacks Jurisdiction to Review Superior Court Decision on Appeal From Disciplinary Action of School District Governing Board.


A school district disciplined a teacher by temporarily suspending his employment without pay.   The teacher sought review in the superior court.  The superior court affirmed the decision of the school district’s governing board. 

The teacher filed a notice of appeal to the Court of Appeals, which dismissed the appeal for lack of jurisdiction.

The right to appeal in a civil case exists only as provided by statute.  In the absence of a statute providing a right of appeal, appellate courts lack jurisdiction to consider the merits of the question appealed.

A.R.S. § 12-2101(A)(1) authorizes appeals to the Court of Appeals from “a final judgment entered in an action or special proceeding commenced in a superior court, or brought into a superior court from any other court,” except certain forcible entry and detainer actions.  For purposes of the statute, cases “brought into a superior court from any other court” must be brought into the superior court by some process other than appeal. 

Because the disciplinary action was neither commenced in superior court nor brought to the superior court by some process other than appeal, § 12-2101(A) did not authorize an appeal to the Court of Appeals.

The Court rejected the teacher’s argument that A.R.S. § 15-543 is the starting point of a statutory “road map” leading to a right of appeal to the Court of Appeals.  That statute authorizes appeals of school district governing board disciplinary decisions to the superior court.  But, neither the language of the statute nor its history and intent supports finding a right of further appeal to the Court of Appeals.

Presiding Judge Eckerstrom authored the opinion; Judges Brammer and Espinosa concurred.

Posted by: Mark Hummels          

Posted On: 3/6/2012