Ashlee Hesman concentrates her practice on law enforcement and corrections defense, along with government liability defense, including defense of 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and Bivens claims. She defends various law enforcement agencies, corrections departments, government agencies, and other public and private entities in Arizona and across the nation. Her practice also includes defense of corrections medical personnel against complex medical negligence and Eighth Amendment deliberate indifference claims.

Ashlee routinely litigates cases involving Security Threat Groups, First Amendment claims (retaliation, religious rights, and access to courts), wrongful death, jail/prison mail, and conditions of confinement for county, state, and private corrections facilities. She has also defended law enforcement and correctional officers against claims for excessive force, unlawful practice or policy, unlawful search or seizure, false arrest, malicious prosecution, conspiracy, fabricated evidence, failure to protect, failure to provide medical care, retaliation, wrongful death, assault and battery, negligence, gross negligence, and negligent hiring, training, and supervision.

For more than 6 years, Ashlee has defended the Arizona Department of Corrections in a complex constitutional class action brought on behalf of 34,000 inmates, and helped achieve a favorable settlement for the Department. Ashlee continues to defend state agencies in class action cases.

In recognition of her accomplishments and legal skills, Ashlee has been named an Arizona Super Lawyer by Southwest Super Lawyers Magazine for the last six years.  She was also recognized in Arizona Attorney magazine for having one of the top civil defense verdicts in Arizona in 2018 in Ferreira v. Penzone, a wrongful death case involving allegations of improper mental health treatment and failure to protect.

Prior to joining the firm, Ashlee externed for Judge Lawrence F. Winthrop at the Arizona Court of Appeals.

Presentations and Publications:

  • On March 11, 2017, Ashlee Hesman presented to the Maricopa County Association of Paralegals. Titled, “Litigating Behind Bars”, the presentation was an introduction to pro se inmate Section 1983 and Bivens actions, discussion of common themes and practices presented by inmate claims, and analysis of recent cases decided by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.
  • Presenter, Firm Client Seminar, “Save $$$ Early On: A Roadmap to Success,” 2016
  • Presenter, Arizona Counties Insurance Pool’s Nineteenth Annual Public Practice Legal Seminar, “Introduction to Defending Inmate Claims,” 2016
  • Presenter, Arizona PRIMA Chapter Meeting, “Turning Plaintiff’s Expert Into a Defense Witness,” Phoenix, Arizona, February 6, 2020.

Representative Experience:

  • Cruz-Sanchez, et. al. v. United States of America, et. al. 3:17-cv-00569-AJB (S.D.Cal. 2022)  Obtained defense verdict in wrongful death case alleging medical malpractice and denial of access to medical care.
  • Arias, et al., v. Transcor America LLC, et al., CV17-02995-SMB (D. Ariz. November 12, 2020) – Obtained defense verdict on Eighth Amendment and negligence claims where Plaintiff alleged Defendants applied his restraints too tightly, which caused permanent nerve damage in his arms, wrists and hands.  In closing, Plaintiff’s counsel asked the jury to return a verdict in excess of 5-million dollars.
  • Inglese, v. Mohave County, et al, CV201800185 (November 12, 2020) – Obtained dismissal of Defendant on Plaintiff’s claim that it maintained its kitchen in a dangerous manner which caused Plaintiff to suffer permanent knee injuries.
  • Hill v. SaddleBrookw HOA, et al., Pinal County Superior Court, No. CV202000281 (August 27, 2020) – Obtained dismissal of Plaintiff’s claims that the Sheriff improperly distributed proceeds from a Sheriff’s sale of her property.
  • Fenty v. Penzone, 2:20-cv-01192-PHX-SPL (JZB) (D. Ariz. 2020) – Defending Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office in a class action suit alleging deliberate indifference to detainee/inmate safety/medical needs regarding MCSO’s entire jail system’s COVID-19 operational and medical response protocols.
  • Bell v. CoreCivic, et al., CV17-002709-JAD (D. Nev. March 10, 2020) – Obtained summary judgment on various tort claims where Plaintiff alleged Defendants caused permanent neck injuries after allowing a metal door to collapse on him.
  • Sanchez v. Pinal County, Pinal County Superior Court, No. CV2016-02106 (March 12, 2018) – Obtained dismissal of Defendant on Plaintiff’s claim that it created an unreasonably dangerous condition which caused Plaintiff to fall from his bunk and suffer spinal injuries.
  • Merritt v. State of Arizona, et al., CV17-4570-DGC (D. Ariz. February 6, 2018) – Obtained dismissal of prosecutors on claim of false arrest and false imprisonment in the “Freeway Shooter” case.
  • St Clair v. Corrections Corporation of America, et al., No. CV-16-02641-PHX-JAT (D. Ariz. May 22, 2018) – Obtained summary judgment on Plaintiff’s First Amendment, Equal Protection, and RLUIPA claims where Plaintiff alleged Defendants failed to provide him with necessary accommodations to practice his religion.
  • Ferreira v. Penzone, et al., No. CV-15-01845-PHX-JAT (D. Ariz. May 25, 2018) – Obtained a defense verdict for Maricopa County and Sheriff Penzone on Fourteenth Amendment failure to protect, Monell, and wrongful death claims.  Plaintiff sued Defendants after her son was killed by his cellmate, claiming Defendants should have known the assault would occur due to the inmates’ mental health issues.
  • Powers v.  Correctional [sic] Corporation of America, et al., No. CV 15-01396-PHX-ROS (DMF) (D. Ariz. Dec. 13, 2017) – Obtained summary judgement on Plaintiff’s Fifth Amendment due process claim where the federal inmate Plaintiff alleged his due process rights were violated by his placement in a Behavior Modification Program.  The Court declined to extend Bivens to a Fifth Amendment due process claim and found that Plaintiff’s placement in the Behavior Modification Program did not implicate a liberty interest.
  • Rico v. Corrections Corporation of America, et al., Pinal County Superior Court, No. CV2014-01024 (Nov. 17, 2016) – Obtained a defense verdict for two physicians accused of malpractice in a wrongful death case.
  • Ray v. Maceri, CV-15-002520PHX-GMS (DKD) (D. Ariz. May 4, 2016) – Obtained summary judgment on Plaintiff’s First Amendment retaliation claim where inmate Plaintiff alleged Defendant retaliated against him for filing grievances and lawsuits.
  • Parsons v. Ryan, CV 12-00601-PHX-NVW (D. Ariz. 2013) – Defended Arizona Department of Corrections in class action alleging systemic deficiencies in conditions of maximum custody confinement and provision of medical, dental, and mental health care.
  • Guzman-Martinez v. Corrections Corporation of America, et al., No. CV-11-02390-PHX-NVW (D. Ariz. July 13, 2012) – Dismissal at motion to dismiss stage after Court found there was no clearly established right to female-only supervision and/or housing for transgender women detainees and that the transgender Plaintiff’s constitutional rights were not violated.

Community Involvement:

  • California Western School of Law Alumni Association, Board Member


In her spare time, Ashlee enjoys reading, baking, and spending time with her family and French bulldogs.

Ashlee Hesman

Rated by Super Lawyers

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