58 Cal.2d 601, 26913, Teitelbaum Furs, Inc. v. Dominion Ins. Co.

Docket Nº:26913
Citation:58 Cal.2d 601, 25 Cal.Rptr. 559, 375 P.2d 439
Opinion Judge:[10] Traynor
Party Name:Teitelbaum Furs, Inc. v. Dominion Ins. Co.
Attorney:[7] Leland, Plattner & Kalik and Horace L. Kalik for Plaintiffs and Appellants. [8] Thomas P. Menzies and James O. White, Jr., for Defendants and Appellants.
Case Date:October 25, 1962
Court:Supreme Court of California

Page 601

58 Cal.2d 601

25 Cal.Rptr. 559, 375 P.2d 439

TEITELBAUM FURS, INC., et al., Plaintiffs and Appellants,


The DOMINION INSURANCE COMPANY, Ltd., et al., Defendants and Appellants.

L. A. 26913.

Supreme Court of California

Oct. 25, 1962.

In Bank

Page 602

[Copyrighted Material Omitted]

Page 603

Leland, Plattner & Kalik and Horace L. Kalik, Beverly Hills, for plaintiffs and appellants.

Thomas P. Menzies and James O. White, Jr., Los Angeles, for defendants and appellants.

TRAYNOR, Justice.

Alleging losses by robbery, plaintiff corporations brought this action to recover $244,510.90 under contracts of insurance with defendant insurers. The jury returned a verdict for plaintiffs, and the trial court granted defendants' motion for new trial on the ground that the evidence was insufficient to support the verdict. The trial court denied defendants' motion for judgment notwithstanding the verdict. Plaintiffs appeal from the order granting a new trial. Defendants appeal from the judgment.

We agree with defendants' contention that their plea of collateral estoppel defeats plaintiffs' action. In a criminal action that became final before the present action was commenced, Albert Teitelbaum, president of a plaintiff corporations was convicted of conspiracy to commit grand theft, attempted grand theft, and the filing of a false and fraudulent insurance claim. The conviction was affirmed on appeal. (People v. Teitelbaum, 163 Cal.App.2d 184, petition for hearing denied Oct. 22, 1958, cert. den., 359 U.S. 206, 79 S.Ct.

Page 604

738, 3 L.Ed.2d 759.) Plaintiff corporations concede that the claim in this case is for the same loss involved in the criminal conviction and that they are mere alter egos of Teitelbaum. The issue adjudicated adversely to plaintiffs in the criminal action is identical with the issue in this action: whether the alleged robbery occurred as plaintiffs contend or whether it was staged by Teitelbaum as defendants contend. By its verdict, the previous jury necessarily found against plaintiffs on this issue.

The doctrine of res judicata has a double aspect: (1) it 'precludes parties or their privies from relitigating a cause of action that has been finally determined by a court of competent jurisdiction.' (2) 'Any issue necessarily decided in such litigation is conclusively determined as to the parties or their privies if it is involved in a subsequent lawsuit on a different cause of action.' (Bernhard v. Bank of America, 19 Cal.2d 807, 810, 894; see Taylor v. Hawkinson, 47 Cal.2d 893, 895-896.) In the present case, since plaintiffs' cause of action is different from that of the state in the criminal proceeding, we are concerned with the latter aspect, often termed collateral estoppel.

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