Our Work

Our Work

Campaign Finance Reform

Arizona Citizens Clean Elections Commission et al. v. Bennett

Thu, 07/18/2013

On Wednesday, July 17, 2013, the Center, representing Arizona Advocacy Network and State Representative Victoria Steele, joined with Osborne Maledon, representing Louis Hoffman, and Ballard Spahr, representing the Citizens' Clean Elections Commission, in filing a petition for special action with the Arizona Supreme Court seeking a ruling that HB2593 is unconstitutional.

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Civil Rights

Tinsley v. Flanagan

Tue, 02/03/2015

Even as Arizona has taken steps to reduce the enormous backlog of reports that children have been maltreated in their own homes, it has disregarded other destructive practices that expose abused and neglected children to “further physical and emotional harm and unreasonable risk of harm while in the State’s care,” according to a federal class-action lawsuit that 10 plaintiff children filed on February 3, 2015 on behalf of the more than 16,000 children in state foster care.

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Consumer Rights

Arizona School Boards Assoc. et al. v. Arizona Corp. Comm.

Fri, 07/10/2015

This case challenges the Corporation Commission’s approval of a 2% rate increase for Arizona Public Service Company.  The Center brought the action on behalf of the Arizona School Boards Association and the Arizona Association of School Business Officials (“School Associations”).  Because it is a rate decision, the appeal of the decision was filed directly in the Arizona Court of Appeals pursuant to A.R.S. § 40-254.01. 

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Morones v. Horne

Fri, 05/25/2012

On May 24, 2012, the Arizona Center for Law in the Public Interest, along with the Morris Institute of Justice, filed a lawsuit challenging the legislature's sweep of $50 million from the Court Ordered Trust Fund set up to benefit Arizonan's hurt by the foreclosure crisis as part of the National Mortgage Foreclosure Settlement

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Glendale Elementary et al. v. State of Arizona; School Facilities Board

Thu, 05/04/2017

On Monday, May 1, 2017 the Center, along with Mary R. O’Grady from Osborn Maledon, filed a lawsuit on behalf of public school districts across the state challenging the State's failure to adequately fund public schools. The plaintiff group includes the Arizona School Boards Association, Arizona Education Association, Arizona School Administrators, Arizona Association of School Business Officials, Elfrida Elementary School District, Chino Valley Unified School District, Crane Elementary School District, Glendale Elementary School District and Kathy Knecht, a private citizen who resides in the city of Peoria.  

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Garcia v. Reagan

Sun, 03/29/2015

 On March 27, 2015, the Center filed Garcia v. Reagan, a lawsuit that challenges the Legislature's referral of a proposed amendment to the Arizona Constitution that would amend the Constition to allow the legislature to divert State Trust Land funds away from schools and use it to replace general fund appropriations.  Just as they did in 2009 when we successfully sued to stop them in Rumery v. Baier, the legislators are proposed to use millions of dollars from the sale of State Trust Lands to fund the state land department.

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Pederson v. Bennett

Tue, 07/10/2012

Center Attorneys, Tim Hogan and Joy Herr-Cardillo, as well as several other Arizona attorneys, have teamed up with Center Board Member (and former Arizona Supreme Court Chief Justice) Stanley Feldman to bring a mandamus action against Secretary of State Ken Bennett after he refused to complete the validation process for the Quality Education and Jobs Citizens’ Initiative petitions that contained 290,849 signatures –the most ever collected in the state's history for a citizens' statutory initiative.

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Niehaus v. Huppenthal

Mon, 01/30/2012


Just two years after the Arizona Supreme Court struck down as unconstitutional the voucher program in Cain v. Horne, the Arizona legislature did it again:  enacted an unconstitutional voucher program supposedly tailored to help disabled children, but really intended to ultimately lead to the defunding of public schools.

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Cave Creek Unified School District et al. v. State of Arizona

Thu, 11/18/2010

The state is once again refusing to adequately fund education and by doing so, is in violation of its own laws.  This time, the state has failed to update the school funding formula by using all of the inflation adjustments required by Proposition 301, a referendum approved by a majority of Arizona voters.

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Rumery et al. v. Baier

Mon, 10/11/2010

The Arizona Supreme Court has struck down as unconstitutional the legislature's attempt to use state trust land proceeds to fund the State Land Department.  In 2009, the legislature passed a bill funneling state trust land proceeds, which formerly went straight to fund education, into administrative costs.  The Center has successfully challenged that bill and as a result these dollars will be put back where they belong.

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Sierra Vista Unified School District et al. v. State of Arizona

Mon, 10/11/2010

This longtime Center case is yet another example of the Center's mission to defend public education. Although the Center won a 1994 victory requiring the state to adequately fund school buildings and facilities, the legislature still refuses to do so. The Center is comitted to force the state to provide the funding needed for a proper education. 

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Flores v. Huppenthal et. al

Thu, 09/09/2010

On March 29, 2013, district court judge Raner Collins vacated the judgment in the twenty year-old case which challenged  the state's denial of equal educational access to a large percentage of Arizona's schoolchildren.  The Center has appealed the disappointing ruling to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. 

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In the Matter of Mohave Electric Cooperative's Application

Wed, 07/27/2011

On September 4, 2012, the Center filed a lawsuit challenging the Arizona Corporation Commission's decision to undermined its own renewable energy rules by once again voting to allow a proposed waste incinerator to qualify as "renewable energy." In a 3-2 vote with Republican commissioners in the majority, a waste incinerator that would run partially on fossil fuels and spew toxic by-products such as mercury and dioxin was astonishingly placed in the same category as truly clean renewable energy such as solar and wind.

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Miller v. Arizona Corporation Commission

Wed, 11/17/2010

We need more, not less, renewable energy and in a sunny state like Arizona, it only makes sense to encourage utility companies to secure power from renewable energy sources such as solar.  This seems like a no-brainer and yet, the Goldwater Institute, a group that supports entrenched corporate interests over the public interest, filed a lawsuit against exactly this.

The Center stepped in and filed an amicus brief in support of Arizona's renewable energy standards to make sure that our energy needs will be adequately provided for in a world where traditional (non-renewable) energy sources are quickly disappearing. On April 7, the Arizona Court of Appeals agreed with the Center (and the Arizona Corporation Commission) by rejecting the Goldwater Institute's challenge.

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Ornelas v. U.S. Air Force

Thu, 02/04/2016

On January 22, 2016 the Center filed a lawsuit in federal district court that challenges the environmental assessment (EA) and finding of no significant impact (FONSI) issued by the U.S. Air Force in connection with its approval of a plan to continue to expand the training program for visiting units at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base. The approved action will increase the annual number of sorties flown by visiting units at DMAFB to 2,326.

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Bahr et al v. McCarthy

Wed, 08/27/2014

On July 29, 2014 the Center filed a Petition for Review challenging EPA's approval of a revision to the Arizona State Implementation Plan under the Clean Air Act (CAA).

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Silver et al. v. Pueblo del Sol et al.

Wed, 05/29/2013

On May 17, 2013, the Center filed a Complaint in Maricopa County Superior Court on behalf of Patricia Gerrodette seeking judicial review of the Arizona Department of Water Resources' (ADWR) decision to grant an adequate water supply designation to Pueblo del Sol, a private water company that is proposing to deliver groundwater to a massive master planned community planned for Sierra Vista. 

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Greer Coaltion Inc. and the Center for Biological Diversity v. U.S. Forest Service et al.

Wed, 11/17/2010


On September 16, 2009, the Forest Service approved the Black River Land Exchange, a decision which has been and continues to be plagued with inconsistencies, shoddy analysis and an almost willful neglect of the public interest.  The Center has filed a lawsuit to stop the Forest Service from handing our national forest lands over to private development.    

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State Trust Land Department v. ANSAC

Wed, 11/17/2010

In Spring 2011, the Center won a major victory for the protection of Arizona's rivers and streams, and by extension, for all of us who want to bring back our quickly disappearing waterways and the rich, lush, riparian corridors they sustain.  

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WildEarth Guardians v. Baier

Tue, 11/16/2010

On January 7, 2014, the Arizona Supreme Court let stand a Court of Appeals decision affirming the State Land Commissioner's decision to award a grazing lease to the existing lessor without first determining who was the highest bidder--the lessor or WildEarth Guardians.  The Center had challenged the State Land Department's unlawful favoritism in awarding a state land grazing lease to the rancher instead of WildEarth Guardians. The Land Department's decision utterly fails to maximize the state's revenue at a time when that revenue is needed more than ever.

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Paisely v. Grumbles

Fri, 11/12/2010

UPDATE:  On September 2, 2011, the Court ruled in favor of the plaintiffs and ordered the funding restored.  The Court's decision is attached. 

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Hualapai Valley Solar LLC

Tue, 10/12/2010

The Center scored a monumental victory in this case by convincing the Arizona Corporation Commission that it did not make sense to pump groundwater from an already-depleted aquifer to run a solar power plant. Because of the Center's hard work, Arizonan's can reap the benefits of solar energy without having to give up precious water.

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Health Care

Etter v. Banner Health

Wed, 05/24/2017

On May 1, 2017, the Center, working with Phoenix-based law firm Bonnett, Fairbourn, Friedman & Balint PC, filed a class action in federal court against Banner Health for denying coverage of standard treatment for autism-related spectrum disorder to employees and their dependents who are covered by the health system’s insurance.

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Biggs et al. v. Betlach et al.

Tue, 07/07/2015

This lawsuit was filed by disgruntled legislators over then-Governor Brewer’s decision to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act to include individuals with incomes from 100% to 133% of the federal poverty level in 2012.  The expansion was approved by a majority of legislators but the legislators who voted against it claim that the enactment was invalid because the bill did not receive a 2/3 vote as required under Arizona’s constitution for a new tax. 

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Arnold v. Sarn

Mon, 05/21/2012

On January 8, 2014, the Center announced that a final resolution of  Arnold v. Sarn, the historic class action, filed in 1981which required the State of Arizona and Maricopa County to develop a full continuum of community mental health services to ensure that individuals with serious mental illness can live successfully in their community. The settlement agreement entered into by the Center, Governor Brewer and the Arizona Department of Health Services will significantly enhance the quality of and expand the capacity for community-based mental health services for thousands of people with mental illness, and provide for the termination of the long standing litigation.

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Fogliano v. Arizona

Thu, 08/11/2011

After the Arizona Supreme Court denied the Center’s motion for preliminary injunction and declined to accept jurisdiction in the special action filed to stop AHCCCS from implementing a freeze on the provision of health care benefits effective July 1, (see Roach et al. v. Brewer et al.), on June 27, 2011, the Center, along with the Morris Institute for Justice and the Arizona Center for Disability Law, filed a lawsuit against AHCCCS and the state of Arizona in Superior Court.    

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Roach et al. v. Brewer et al.

Mon, 05/30/2011

On May 23, the Center and the William E. Morris Institute for Justice filed a critically important lawsuit against Governor Jan Brewer's and the legislature's attempt to destroy Arizona's health care system. This lawsuit not only seeks to protect low income individuals who will lose all health care coverage if Brewer and the legislature have their way, but it also seeks to protect Arizona voters whose votes would otherwise be blatantly ignored by the Governor and legislature.

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J.K. v. Humble

Sun, 11/14/2010

The state of Arizona has repeatedly failed to meet its federal obligations when it comes to providing mental health and substance abuse treatment to Medicaid-eligible children. The Center was appointed as legal counsel in this case in 1991 to enforce federal laws requiring the state to provide children with nationally accepted standards for mental health care and substance abuse treatment.

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Open Government

Staropoli et al. v. Arizona

Wed, 07/17/2013

On Tuesday, July 16, 2013, the Center filed a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of Senate Bill 1454, enacted by the Arizona Legislature in the final hours of the 2013 First Regular Session.  The Bill, which started out in the Senate as a campaign finance bill, ran afoul of the Arizona Constitution when it was amended in the House of Representatives to include numerous unrelated provisions dealing with Homeowners Associations (HOAs).

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Other Issues

McComish v. Bennett

Thu, 11/18/2010

For over a decade, Arizona's unique voter-enacted Citizens' Clean Elections Act has promoted free speech and helped combat corruption in Arizona government.  Now the Act, which is the only alternative to the corruption inherent in large, private, political contributions, is being challenged by those who want private industry and its money to control our state.  The Center is representing Arizona's Clean Elections Institute in the United States Supreme Court to fight to retain this critical law.

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