Chelsey practices in the areas of general civil litigation and insurance. She focuses her practice on defending clients in matters involving wrongful death and catastrophic personal injury, abuse and assault, premises liability, products liability, social host liability, commercial and personal general liability claims, and maritime law. She regularly represents corporate and non-profit clients in complex litigation cases, and has obtained favorable outcomes for many of her clients through motion practice, settlement negotiations, and trials.
Throughout her career, Chelsey has regularly represented individuals, companies, and institutions in matters involving assault, battery, sexual abuse, and self-defense. As a result, she has developed a concentration dealing with the complex interplay between criminal investigations and the civil lawsuits that often follow.
Chelsey is one of the firm’s hiring partners and chairs our summer associate and mentor programs. She is also a member of the firm’s diversity committee. Outside of JSH, Chelsey is an active member of the Association of Defense Trial Attorneys (ADTA) and the Fiesta Bowl Committee.
In her spare time, she enjoys golfing, skiing, and cheering on the Michigan State Spartans with her wife and their three children.
- Defended homeowner sued for wrongful death after a shooting occurred at their property while they were on vacation in Montana. Decedent’s parents claimed the homeowners were negligent for failing to control their 21-year-old adult son who lived at home and owned firearms, and were therefore responsible for decedent’s death. The homeowners argued that because their adult son purchased the gun used to shoot decedent three days before the shooting and because he was an adult, the parents were not liable for their son’s tortious conduct. The jury found in favor of the homeowners and against the Plaintiff. Dumbrell v. Hanson, et al. Maricopa County Superior Court.
- Defended homeowner sued for wrongful death after a 5-year old guest drowned in homeowner’s backyard pool. Parents claimed the homeowners were negligent for failing to designate or hire a water watcher, and were therefore responsible for their son’s drowning. As hosts, the homeowners argued they acted as a reasonably careful homeowners should under all the facts and circumstances. The jury found in favor of the homeowners and against the Plaintiff. Johnson v. Acosta. Maricopa County Superior Court.
- Defeated plaintiff’s attempt to limit exposure to the value of the vessel in maritime case. Boat capsized in high winds at Lake Powell. The decedents’ estates sued the rental company (Aramark) who rented the speedboat in bad weather. The weather forecast included a high wind advisory which Aramark failed to share with the renters. One hour after the renters left the marina, Aramark stopped renting boats for the day. The boat capsized in rough water and four passengers drowned. Aramark denied liability but pursuant to Maritime law argued their liability was limited to the value of the vessel which was less than $10,000. We successfully defeated Aramark’s attempt to limit its exposure to the value of the vessel. In re Aramark vs. the Estates and Brady, April 2014. U.S. District Court for the State of Utah.
- Obtained summary judgment on behalf of insurer after denial of coverage for employee theft. Plaintiff, the owner of a small business, alleged theft of amusement gaming machines from various small businesses and a storage unit. Plaintiff used Craigslist to hire several persons to run the daily operations of its business. After some time, Plaintiff noticed a substantial decrease in its profits and sent a representative to investigate these changes. After visiting the small businesses and storage unit, Plaintiff’s representative discovered that all but a few of the machines were missing. The various small business owners informed Plaintiff’s representative that the machines were removed by the persons it hired from Craigslist. Plaintiff made a claim under its insurance policy claiming the machines were stolen. The policy, however, contained an exclusion for property lost or damaged as the result of the dishonest or criminal acts by anyone to whom the property had been entrusted. The Insurer filed a Motion for Summary Judgment arguing that because the policy exclusion clearly applied, Plaintiff was not entitled to coverage under the policy. The insurer also provided evidence that it contacted Plaintiff within 24-hours of the initial claim and that it performed a reasonable and adequate investigation regarding the alleged theft. Without hearing oral argument, the U.S. District Court agreed with the insurer and entered summary judgment in favor of the insurer. Arcade Entertainment v. AGCS Marine Insurance, April 2015. U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona.
Professional Associations & Memberships
- Federation of Defense & Corporate Counsel (FDCC), Member, 2021
- American Bar Association, Member
- State Bar of Arizona, Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Committee (2012-2018)
- Arizona Women Lawyers Association, Member
- Arizona Association of Defense Counsel, Member
- Defense Research Institute, Member
- National LGBT Bar Association, Member
- Association of Defense Trial Attorneys, Member; Executive Council, 2021-present
- Past-Chair of the Committee on Diversity and Inclusion
Civic & Community Associations
- Community Legal Services, Volunteer Lawyers Program
- Fiesta Bowl Committee, Current Member
- George Leonard Rookie of the Year (2016-2017)
- Audit and Compliance Committee, Member (2018 – Present)
Professional Recognition & Awards
- Best Lawyers in America®, Litigation – Insurance, Personal Injury Litigation – Defendants, 2021-2024; Commercial Litigation, 2022-2024; Product Liability Litigation – Defendants, 2023-2024; Insurance Law, 2024
- Southwest Super Lawyers: Rising Star, 2016-2020, 2022-2023
- Phoenix Magazine Top Lawyers, Civil Law Litigation, 2022-2023
Presentations & Publications
- “Phoenix Law Firm Offers ASU Law Grads Practical Experience, Open-Door Mentoring,” Interviewee, ASUNow.ASU.edu, October 2020
- “Tips & Strategies for Building a Diverse Defense Firm,” Panelist, ADTA 79th Annual Conference, September 2020
- “Deposition Skills and Strategies,” Presenter, Arizona Association of Defense Counsel- Young Lawyers Division, November 2018
- “How To Avoid The Hot Seat: Good Claims Handling In Arizona,” Presenter, 2014 JSH Annual Seminar: It’s All Fun and Games Until Someone Gets Hurt, November 2014
- “Lease Terminations Under the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act,” Presenter, ASU Veterans Day CLE – Serving Those Who Serve, November 11, 2010
Arizona State University, Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law, J.D., 2010
Michigan State University, B.A., Social Relations and Policy, 2007
Concentration: Economics and Political Economy
University of Cambridge, British Political Theory, Study Abroad, 2005
U.S. District Court, District of Utah, 2022
U.S. District Court, District of Arizona, 2011