Berk & Moskowitz, P.C.
Attorneys at Law 
May 2010
In this issue, we are excited to report a recent jury verdict won by Kent Berk.  We have also created a video powerpoint presentation regarding foreclosures and Arizona's anti-deficiency statutes, and have summarized a recent Arizona Court of Appeals decision on child support.  If you have any questions or suggestions, please let us know.

Kent Berk & Frank Moskowitz
  Front of Building
JuryFirm Wins $912,500 Jury Verdict in Fraud Case
On April 22, 2010, a Maricopa County Superior Court jury unanimously awarded the firm's clients $912,500 in a fraud case against the sellers of a Peoria, Arizona business.  Kent Berk tried the case on behalf of the clients, the buyers of the business.
After doing extensive investigation, the clients, John and Margaret Durma, signed a contract to buy The Curve on Peoria bar and restaurant for $375,000.  The records provided by the seller appeared valid and confirmed that the business was making $160,000 in profit per year.  But, after taking over the operations of the business, it had losses each month.  The Durmas suspected the seller of wrongdoing and investigated further.  After filing their lawsuit, the Durmas discovered that the seller had created a second (false) set of financial records and that the business actually had losses each year that the seller owned it, all contrary to the seller's repeated representations before the sale. 
At trial, Kent Berk, on behalf of the Durmas, presented claims for fraud, consumer fraud, bad faith, negligent misrepresentation and breach of contract.  Before the case went to the jury, the Judge granted the Durmas judgment as a matter of law on their breach of contract and negligent misrepresentation claims, and found that the seller was prohibited from pursuing any claims for the balance of the purchase price. 
The jury unanimously found in favor of the Durmas on their remaining claims - fraud, consumer fraud and bad faith, and unanimously awarded the Durmas $241,000 in economic damages, $196,500 in emotional distress damages and $475,000 in punitive damages.  The Durmas are thrilled with the result.
ChildSuppCourt of Appeals Issues Opinion on Retroactive Child Support

The Arizona Court of Appeals has recently issued an opinion clarifying the Arizona courts' obligations to order payment of retroactive child support in certain cases, even if it was not specifically requested by the parties. In Simpson v. Simpson (Court of Appeals opinion filed 04/22/10), the divorce court ordered the father to pay future child support but did not require the father to pay past child support back to the date the petition for dissolution of marriage was filed. The divorce court ruled that "neither party requested retroactive child support, and to the extent it would otherwise be available, the Court deems that issue abandoned."

The Court of Appeals reversed the divorce court's ruling. It held that under A.R.S. � 25-320(B), when a divorce court finds that an award of child support is appropriate and enters an initial child support order, it must also enter an order for payment of past child support retroactive to the date of the filing of the dissolution of marriage, legal separation or child support proceeding. The Court of Appeals did note, however, that the past support will not, necessarily, be the same amount (i.e., per month) as the future support, and that the divorce courts should apply the child support guidelines retroactively to the parties' circumstances during the period for which the past support will be calculated.

This decision is not yet final and may be subject to further appeal.  Click here to read the opinion.

By George H. Smith

In this Issue

Jury Trial Results: Firm Wins $912,500 for clients


AboutAbout our Firm 

Berk & Moskowitz is dedicated to providing topnotch and efficient legal representation.  We handle a wide  variety of matters involving disputes, arbitration and litigation, including:
reception area

LegalEase"Legal Ease" 


 Dear Judge,

You sentenced me to 12 months in State Jail. I have a deal to offer you. If I promise to come back AND do 13 months instead of 12 months in State Jail, would you let me out to watch the Super Bowl? (I promise I won't even drink)


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Berk & Moskowitz, P.C. - Attorneys at Law
14220 North Northsight Boulevard, Suite 135
Scottsdale, Arizona 85260
phone 480-607-7900     fax 480-607-7300