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Date: 05-04-2023

Case Style:

Devin Andrich v. James Matthew Allen

Case Number: CV2019-01352

Judge: Randall H. Warner

Court: Superior Court, Maricopa County, Arizona

Plaintiff's Attorney: Pro Se

Defendant's Attorney:

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Description: Phoenix, Arizona personal injury lawyers represented Plaintiff and Defendant conversation theory.

¶2 In October 2014, Allen hired Andrich as a paralegal. At the time, Andrich was homeless and facing criminal charges arising from misconduct related to his own legal practice.

¶3 In December of that year, Allen helped Andrich to secure a place to live from a mutual friend, Ronald Fried. Andrich lived in Fried's apartment for free until Andrich began his prison sentence on February 3, 2015. When Andrich vacated the apartment, he asked Fried to deliver some clothing and other personal items ("the Property") to Allen for safekeeping.

¶4 In September 2017, Andrich was released from prison. One month later, he met with Allen about a potential job opportunity. At that meeting, Andrich discovered that Fried never delivered the Property to Allen.

¶5 Andrich reached out to Fried to retrieve the Property. When that failed, Andrich sent an email to Allen in which Andrich (i) acknowledged that Allen never received the Property, and (ii) threatened to file suit, seek a temporary restraining order, and depose and polygraph everyone involved if Allen did not "fix this."

¶6 Allen responded by offering Andrich a $200 gift card to replace the lost clothing but warned that Allen would "forward" any more "email[s] of this nature "to the State Bar, the County Attorney's Office, and Andrich's parole officer. Andrich claims this warning caused him to "suffer immediate and ongoing severe emotional distress."

¶7 In January 2018, Andrich sent a second demand letter to Fried. Fried forwarded the letter to Allen and asked for advice on what he


should do about it and how he could contact Andrich's parole officer. Allen replied by suggesting that Fried have his attorney respond to Andrich's letter and that Fried should "start with a google search" to find Andrich's parole officer.

¶8 Fried did not return the Property, and Andrich filed suit against Fried and Fried's ex-wife in October 2019. He later amended the complaint twice, adding Allen as a defendant and asserting claims for (1) aiding and abetting the conversion of Andrich's property; (2) intentional infliction of emotional distress; and (3) tortious interference with a contract.

¶9 In response to a document production request, Allen disclosed his January 2018 text message exchange with Fried. During litigation, Andrich and Allen filed a Joint Statement of Disclosure Dispute in which Andrich challenged the sufficiency of Allen's disclosures, suggesting that Allen was in possession of additional electronically stored information ("ESI") that he had failed to disclose and asking for leave to file a motion to compel further disclosures and for sanctions against Allen. Allen denied being in possession of any undisclosed ESI relevant to this case. The court heard arguments from the parties and denied Andrich's request for additional disclosure.

¶10 In June 2020, Fried found a bag containing some or all of the Property and returned the bag to Andrich. Andrich and Fried later reached a stipulation to dismiss the claims against Fried with prejudice.

¶11 In September 2021, Allen moved for summary judgment on all claims against him. Following oral argument, the superior court granted Allen's motion and awarded him a portion of his attorney fees and costs. Andrich timely appealed, and we have jurisdiction under A.R.S. § 12-2101(A)(1).
Andrich v. Allen (Ariz. App. 2023)

Outcome: Summary judgement in favor of Allen affirmed on appeal.

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