Significant Cases


  • 1981 State v. Tony Mason
    William Healy and Richard Gonzales successfully defended University of Arizona Head Football Coach Tony Mason in a 15 count criminal indictment alleging fraud in the use of funds for the Wildcat football recruiting effort. The charges were prosecuted by the Arizona Attorney General’s Office shortly after the University of Arizona joined the Pac-10 Conference. Following a two week trial, the jury acquitted Coach Mason of all charges.
  • 1984 Acevedo v. Pima County Adult Probation Department
    Richard Gonzales brought a lawsuit on behalf of several minor children who had been molested by a twice convicted child molester who was under the supervision of the Pima County Adult Probation Department. Initially, nine lawyers declined the case because existing case law did not allow this type of negligence lawsuit against the probation department. Mr. Gonzales took the case to the Arizona Supreme Court and succeeded in having the case law reversed. He then proceeded to recover over a $1,000,000 for the children who had been molested. This case became the subject of an annotation note published by the American Law Reports and can be found at 44 ALR 4th 631.
  • 1989 Gerardo v. Tucson Airport Authority
    The Dallas, Texas law firm of Baron & Budd, in association with Richard Gonzales, settled a $35,000,000 lawsuit against the City of Tucson on behalf of 1,618 plaintiffs who had been affected by the dumping of TCE (an industrial solvent) into the ground water table around the Tucson International Airport. Mr. Gonzales was raised in the affected neighborhood and many of his clients were friends and acquaintances with whom he grew up.
  • 1991 Valenzuela v. Hughes Aircraft Company
    The companion case to Gerardo v. City of Tucson was settled against Hughes Aircraft Company in 1991on behalf of 2,118 plaintiffs for $95,000,000. At the time, this was the largest settlement for a ground water contamination case in the history of the United States.
  • 1994 Petolicchio v. Santa Cruz County Fair
    Plaintiff’s high school aged son was killed in a one car accident involving the consumption of alcohol. The alcohol was provided by a friend who was using his mother’s keys to steal it from the Santa Cruz County Fair storage room. The Superior Court Judge dismissed the case citing the immunity granted to liquor licensees under existing Arizona statutes. The Arizona Court of Appeals upheld the trial court’s dismissal of the case. Richard Gonzales then appealed the case to the Arizona Supreme Court and secured a reversal and finding by the Supreme Court, that as a matter of common law negligence, the defendant liquor licensee owed the general public a duty to prevent minors from stealing its alcohol. Following this decision by the Arizona Supreme Court, Mr. Gonzales was able to settle the case for the parents.
  • 2002 Holguin v. Consolidated Freighters, Inc.
    What started out as a relatively minor rear-end collision with soft tissue injury ultimately escalated into a case of permanent disability as a result of the onset of RSD (reflex sympathy dystrophy) and MPS (myofascial pain syndrome). Mr. Gonzales was able to settle the case with the defendant trucking company for $2,000,000.
  • 2006 Associated Aviation Underwriters v. Wood
    The TCE ground water contamination case which started in 1984 with the cases of Valenzuela v. Hughes Aircraft Company and Gerardo v. Tucson Airport Authority, was finally resolved after 22 years of litigation with a multi-million dollar settlement in the Damron enforcement phase of the case. AAU v. Wood also resulted in a significant court of appeals opinion addressing substantive issues of insurance law in the State of Arizona.
  • 2006 Bruce Austin v. Kenneth Howard & Little Bear Transport, Inc.
    On Christmas Eve 2002, tow truck driver Bruce Austin was called to assist at a fatal accident. He was in a median strip of Interstate 10 when a tractor-trailer driven by Kenneth Howard went out of control and veered into the median, hitting Austin and severing his right leg. Austin also lost his left thumb, broke several ribs and fractured his left shoulder. Howard was caught by police making changes in his logbook while he sat in his truck at the scene and admitted that he was driving longer than allowed because he was trying to get home for Christmas. Little Bear Transport was alleged to be negligent in its hiring, supervision and business practices. Both Howard and Little Bear Transport admitted liability but argued that $1 million was adequate compensation. The jury awarded $5 million in compensatory damages and $10 million in punitive damages. The Arizona State Bar (Arizona Attorney Magazine, Vol. 43 No. 9, May, 2007) reported that the Austin case was the second largest civil verdict in Arizona in 2006.
  • 2007 Taylor/Gurgone, et al. v. University House at Tucson, et al.
    University House at Tucson is an apartment complex specifically designed for college students attending the University of Arizona and Pima Community College. Almost immediately upon opening its doors, the apartment complex gained a reputation as “party central” for the local college community. Despite the obvious underage drinking, unruly conduct and escalating violence, the apartment management failed to curb these parties despite having a duty to make the premises safe for tenants and their guests. Consequently, in April, 2003, unknown assailants fired 18 gun shots into a party of several hundred persons, killing two and wounding numerous others. Richard Gonzales represented the victims in a lawsuit in Pima County. After four years of litigation, the parties entered into a significant settlement with a covenant not to disclose the settlement amount.