Re-Examining the Firefighter’s Rule in Arizona

In Arizona, the “firefighter’s rule” bars firefighters and police officers from bringing lawsuits against people who negligently create situations that require their assistance. Scholars nationwide have heavily criticized the firefighter’s rule, and five states have already abolished it. In June 2016, the Arizona Court of Appeals decided Sanders v. Alger, in which it overturned a superior court decision that would have expanded the firefighter’s rule to apply to caregivers. The fact that the rationales supporting the firefighter’s rule could be used to justify this expansion illustrates the unclear, malleable nature of those rationales. The Arizona Supreme Court, which granted review of Sanders v. Alger in January 2017, should take advantage of this second chance to reconsider the firefighter’s rule. This Note examines the rationales behind the firefighter’s rule and explains why each is insufficient to support the injustice that the rule produces. By focusing on the inappropriateness of the firefighter’s rule in Arizona, this Note contributes a new voice to the existing body of tort literature.