Managing PartnerArizona | Utah
Bill Holm has been with Jones, Skelton & Hochuli since its inception in 1983 and has served as Managing Partner since 1995. He concentrates his practice in matters involving business torts, commercial litigation, and personal injury defense.
- 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.
- Obtained summary judgment in favor of an insurance broker sued for negligent supervision of two independent insurance agents. Plaintiff was 75 years old and alleged the insurance agents fraudulently or negligently sold her a retirement annuity and life insurance policy that she didn’t need. The Court granted our Motion for Summary Judgment one month before trial. Ghio v. 4T’s, December 2017. Yavapai County Superior Court.
- Obtained a directed verdict in favor of Defendant Shah, the homeowner, after a two week jury trial. Plaintiff, a 33 year old stucco worker, fell off a scaffold and shattered both heels. He sued the homeowner for negligence. The Trial Judge granted Defendant Shah’s Rule 50 Motion for Judgment as a Matter of Law and the jury was excused. Calderon v. Shah, November 2015. 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. On behalf of the Brady’s, 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.
- Defended homeowner sued for wrongful death after a 5-year old guest who 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 Acosta’s argued they acted as a reasonably careful homeowner 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.
- Obtained unanimous jury verdict in favor of defense in highly-contested civil assault trial. While attending a Coyotes game on Valentine’s Day 2009, our client, Defendant Clemett, his wife and their friends, were harassed by another fan throughout the game. The harassment became more obscene and vulgar as the game progressed. The Plaintiff proceeded to confront our client, his wife and friends – who were seated 25 feet away and two rows down – verbally threatening their lives and spitting on our client’s wife. Defendant Clemett took action in defense of his wife and others nearby, hitting the Plaintiff as he continued to make threats. We argued that Defendant Clemett acted reasonably under the circumstances and blamed the Plaintiff for starting the altercation. Further, we then argued that the Plaintiff was intoxicated, assumed the risk of injury, and was a bully. Plaintiff alleged multiple injuries and loss of wages in the subsequent years. It became apparent, however, that these allegations were all but falsified and in fact the Plaintiff’s medical and employment problems began long before Valentine’s Day 2009. Plaintiff’s counsel asked the jury to award Plaintiff $3.13 million. Defendants argued that Plaintiff started the fight and was therefore 100% responsible for any and all injuries. In the alternative, Defendants argued Plaintiff was at least 70% at fault, Defendants were each 10% at fault, and the facility was 10% at fault for not ejecting the Plaintiff earlier in the game. After approximately 1 hour and 15 minutes of deliberation, the jury returned a unanimous verdict for the Defendants. Franklin v. Clemett, et al, October 2014. Maricopa County Superior Court.
Selected as a “Top Ten Defense Verdict of 2014” by Arizona Attorney Magazine.
- Obtained summary judgment in matter involving wrongful death. When returning from a sales appointment, the real estate agent’s car crossed the center line and struck Santorii’s tractor-trailer, killing both men. Santorii’s wife brought a wrongful death lawsuit against MartinezRusso, alleging that the real estate broker was vicariously liable for the agent’s negligence. The Court of Appeals affirmed summary judgment for the broker because (1) Arizona’s real estate statutes do not create an employer-employee relationship between brokers and agents; (2) the same statutes do not impose upon the broker a non-delegable duty to supervise an agent’s driving; and (3) based on the undisputed facts, the agents was an independent contractor of the broker. Santorii v. MartinezRusso, August 2016. Maricopa County Superior Court.
Professional Associations & Memberships
- Arizona State Bar, Member, Tort and Construction Law Section
- Arizona Association of Defense Counsel (AADC), Member
- American Board of Trial Advocates (ABOTA), Advocate
Professional Recognition & Awards
- Listed, Best Lawyers in America®, Insurance Law, 2014-2023; Litigation Insurance, 2018-2023; Personal Injury Litigation – Defendants, 2021-2023; Commercial Litigation, 2022-2023
- American Board of Trial Advocates (ABOTA), Advocate Ranking, 2006
- Best of the Bar for Insurance Defense, Arizona Business Journal, 2005
- Arizona’s Finest Lawyers, 2011
- Phoenix Magazine Top Lawyers, Personal Injury, 2022
- AV® Preeminent™ Rated on Martindale Hubbell
Presentations & Publications
- “Novel Ways to Train and Develop Associates,” Quoted, America Bar Association’s Law Practice, July/August 2018
- “2018 Changes in the Civil Procedure Rules: Practical Effects of the Changes,” Co-Author, The JSH Reporter, Spring 2018
- “Tools to Substantiate the Value of a Complex Claim,” Presenter, CEU Institute, October 2015
- “The Anatomy of a Lawsuit,” Presenter, JSH Trial College, 2016/2017
University of Arizona, James E. Rogers College of Law, J.D., with Distinction, 1982
University of Arizona, B.S., Finance, B.S., Insurance, with Distinction, 1978
National Dean’s List
U.S. District Court, District of Arizona
U.S. Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit
U.S. District Court, District of Utah, 2021