Monday, May 9, 2016

Palmetto State Hail Mary Falls Flat in D2d6.

Hawkins. v. Suntrust Bank, No. B264541 (D2d6, on denial of rehearing, April 4, 2016)

Plaintiff’s South Carolina residence got judicially foreclosed on by a court there. She tried to challenge that by filing a wrongful foreclosure case against the bank in Ventura County. But under res judicata principles, the South Carolina judgment is preclusive. Plaintiff tries to argue that there was no personal jurisdiction in the South Carolina case, which would be a legit ground to avoid preclusion. Her problem is that the South Carolina judgment contains a factual finding that she was, in fact, served with a summons and complaint in the judicial foreclosure case. And she can’t attack that factual finding by filing a new case here.

Plaintiff further objects to the taking of judicial notice of the order containing the findings, but that fails too. Generally speaking, court documents are subject to judicial notice of their existence, but not for the truth of any statements contained in them. Here, the service finding in the South Carolina judgment is not significant because it proves that plaintiff was, in fact served. To the contrary, it is significant because it shows that the South Carolina court found she was served, which meets the test for the purposes of preclusion, regardless of whether it is ultimately true or not. 


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