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Security Deposit

My tenant moved out and walk through conducted on Dec 16th 2012.  There are alot of things I pointed to the tenant that are damaged which he became very defensive.  Number one rule I follow "never argue with tenant in the house" which I didn't, this is why we have security deposits.  I told tenant with holiday coming with items needed to be fixed I need some understanding with time of having contractors out here to quote and perform work, he agreed (i did not get this in writing).  AZ law states have to return certified mail the security deposit or itemized list of deductions and reminder of money within 15 business days.  I sent out certified mail a letter plus photo's and receipts of damage and labor 17days, not 15 days like the law requires.  With the holiday I couldn't get contractors out there to meet this deadline and produce receipts.  My tenant filed a lawsuit exercising his right to sue for 2 times the amount of security deposit under AZ law which totals $4800. Is this law set in stone?  Or do they understand these types of possible situations?  His damages totaled $1800 which he owes me money.  Can I get some help to understand what the law means by the 15 days and what if any is an exception please?  The law is very vague on this issue about anything but "will send to tenant within 15 days".  Thanks...
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