Court turns back appeal on Gilbert bond election lawsuit

Gavel, law books
The Arizons Court of Appeals will not hear an appeal on Gilbert resident Jim Torgeson's lawsuit challenging the $515 million town streets, transportation and infrastructure bond. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)

The Arizons Court of Appeals will not hear an appeal on Gilbert resident Jim Torgeson's lawsuit challenging the $515 million town streets, transportation and infrastructure bond. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)

The Arizona Court of Appeals Division One on Dec. 23 declined to hear an appeal on a Gilbert resident’s lawsuit that challenged the town’s bond election.

Timothy La Sota, the attorney for signmaker Jim Torgeson, filed a petition for special action Dec. 22, seeking to quickly overturn Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Jay Adleman’s dismissal of Torgeson’s lawsuit.

Torgeson filed suit against the town Nov. 22, arguing that the town infringed on his free speech rights by removing at least 57 of his anti-bond signs and thus may have swayed the outcome of the election.

The $515 million streets, transportation and infrastructure bond passed in early November by 0.4 percent, a margin of 164 votes.

Adleman granted the town’s motion to dismiss Dec. 21 on the grounds that Torgeson should have filed the suit before the election and that his complaint did not rise to the “level of an offense against the elective franchise.”


La Sota argued in his petition that Adleman erred on both counts.

The Court of Appeals initially scheduled a hearing Jan. 19 before Presiding Judge Maria Elena Cruz and judges Samuel Thumma and Michael Brown.

However, the appeals court vacated the order scheduling that hearing when it declined to accept jurisdiction in the matter “in the exercise of its discretion.”
By Tom Blodgett

Editor, Gilbert

Raised in Arizona, Tom Blodgett has spent more than 30 years in journalism in Arizona and joined Community Impact Newspaper in July 2018 to launch the Gilbert edition. He is a graduate of Arizona State University, where he served as an instructional professional in the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication from 2005-19 and remains editorial adviser to The State Press, the university's independent student media outlet.