Sosinsky v. Grant

CourtCalifornia Court of Appeals
Writing for the CourtARDAIZ; MARTIN, Acting P.J., and HARRIS
Citation6 Cal.App.4th 1548,8 Cal.Rptr.2d 552
PartiesKevin SOSINSKY, et al., Plaintiffs and Appellants, v. Allen R. GRANT, et al., Defendants and Respondents. F014416.
Decision Date18 May 1992

Page 552

8 Cal.Rptr.2d 552
6 Cal.App.4th 1548
Kevin SOSINSKY, et al., Plaintiffs and Appellants,
v.
Allen R. GRANT, et al., Defendants and Respondents.
F014416.
Court of Appeal, Fifth District, California.
May 18, 1992.
Certified for Partial Publication *
As Modified June 15, 1992.
Review Denied Aug. 12, 1992.

Page 553

[6 Cal.App.4th 1551] Meyer & Mitchell, Daniel L. Mitchell, Jack Leavitt and Debra A. Hayes, Hayward, for plaintiffs and appellants.

Rossbacher & Associates Henry H. Rossbacher, Tracy W. Young, Los Angeles, and Hansen, Boyd, Culhane & Watson, David E. Boyd and James J. Banks, Sacramento, for defendants and respondents.

OPINION

ARDAIZ, Associate Justice.

This case presents the issue of whether a court may properly take judicial notice of the truth of factual findings made by a judge who sat as a trier of fact in a previous case. We hold that the court may not take judicial notice of the truth of those factual findings.

Appellants Kevin Sosinsky, Ernest Green and Brett Speer, each of whom was a plaintiff in a civil action against respondents Allen R. Grant, Carolyn M. Grant, and Grant Construction Company (hereinafter "the Grants"), appeal a May 29, 1990, judgment entered against them and in favor of the Grants following the superior court's order granting a motion of the Grants for summary judgment.

Appellant Speer also appeals a July 27, 1990, judgment entered against him and in favor of respondents Harold C. Wright, Brad L. Walter, and Wright & Britton, a partnership (also defendants in the superior court, and [6 Cal.App.4th 1552] hereinafter "the Wright defendants"), following the superior court's order granting a motion of the Wright defendants for summary judgment.

We (1) affirm the superior court's May 29, 1990, judgment against Sosinsky, Green, and Speer, and in favor of the Grants, and (2) affirm the superior court's July 27, 1990, judgment against Speer and in favor of the Wright defendants.

PROCEDURAL HISTORY

In January of 1985 the Grants brought a civil action (Stanislaus County Superior Court action no. 204488) against James C. Brooks and three other defendants. The Grants alleged, inter alia, that Brooks defrauded the Grants into buying the Eagle Chevrolet dealership in Modesto by representing that Eagle had a net worth of $254,430, whereas Eagle actually had a negative net worth. In May of 1986 the Grants filed a second amended complaint in action No. 204488, this time naming Brooks and 12 other defendants, including Sosinsky, Green and Speer.

Sosinsky, Green and Speer were named in two of the nine causes of action of the No. 204488 second amended complaint. The third cause of action, for fraud, alleged that Speer and Sosinsky "devised a fraudulent scheme and plan ... to offer Eagle for sale to any economically sound, unsuspecting party, such as Grant, based upon the preparation and presentation of financial information, fraudulently inflated to cause Eagle to appear to have a value substantially greater than it actually had." It also alleged that Speer and Green "intentionally disrupted the operations of Eagle, to prevent plaintiffs from discovering the true net worth of Eagle." The ninth cause of action, for "Violation of, and Conspiracy to Violate, the Racketeering Influenced and Corrupt Practices Act [RICO] 18 USC §§ 1961, 1964(c)," alleged that Speer, Sosinsky, Green and others "devised the unlawful plan and scheme described herein (the illegal enterprise), and in anticipation of the sale of Eagle to plaintiffs, conspired in this unlawful plan and scheme, to falsely and fraudulently cause Eagle to appear financially solvent, then to sell Eagle to an unsuspecting and innocent purchaser, such as the plaintiffs, at an inflated value, based upon fraudulent representations of the true net worth of Eagle." It goes on to allege that Speer, Sosinsky, Green and various other defendants had a "plan and scheme ... to cause Eagle to fail, then to obtain the Chevrolet franchise free of any of the substantial debts that had been incurred by Eagle."

The case was removed to the United States District Court for the Eastern District of California. The RICO defendants, including Sosinsky, Green and [6 Cal.App.4th 1553] Speer, successfully convinced the federal court that a civil RICO cause of action must

Page 554

allege a "pattern of racketeering activity," and that the ninth cause of action of the second amended complaint merely alleged a "single scheme" and therefore did not adequately allege a RICO violation. The federal court dismissed the ninth cause of action without leave to amend for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted, expressly noted that "[t]he remaining causes of action are before the court pursuant to pendent jurisdiction," and dismissed the pendent causes of action as well "without prejudice to their refiling in state court." The federal court's ruling was dated October 1, 1986.

In March of 1987 the Grants filed a third amended complaint in action No. 204488 in the Stanislaus County Superior Court. The third amended complaint did not name Sosinsky or Green as defendants. Speer was named as a defendant in the third cause of action of the third amended complaint, and the allegations against him were substantially the same as the allegations made against him in the second amended complaint's third cause of action for fraud. The third amended complaint also named Speer as a defendant in a fourth cause of action for conspiracy. The fourth cause of action incorporates the allegations of the third cause of action and essentially mirrors the allegations of the third cause of action.

In April of 1987 in Stanislaus County Superior Court action No. 223216, Sosinsky sued the Grants and the Wright defendants for malicious prosecution. The Wright defendants were the attorneys who represented the Grants as plaintiffs in action No. 204488, the action alleged to have been brought maliciously by the Grants against Sosinsky. A first amended complaint in No. 223216 was filed in November of 1987 and eliminated other causes of action which had accompanied the malicious prosecution cause of action in the original complaint.

In June of 1987 Green sued the Grants and the Wright defendants for malicious prosecution in action No. 224241. Green's first amended complaint, which eliminated all causes of action other than the one for malicious prosecution, was filed simultaneously with Sosinsky's first amended complaint in November of 1987.

In October of 1987 Speer sued the Grants and the Wright defendants for malicious prosecution in action No. 227607. Speer's first amended complaint, which eliminated all causes of action other than the one for malicious prosecution, was filed simultaneously with Sosinsky's first amended complaint in No. 223216 and with Green's first amended complaint in No. 224241 in November of 1987.

[6 Cal.App.4th 1554] In 1988 the Grants' action No. 204488 against Brooks, Speer and others went to trial. The Grants lost, and then appealed from their adverse judgment.

In May of 1989 the malicious prosecution actions brought by Sosinsky (223216), Green (224241) and Speer (227607) against the Grants and the Wright defendants were ordered consolidated.

In February of 1990, three summary judgment motions, all noticing hearings for March 22, 1990, barely a month prior to the then-scheduled trial date of April 23, 1990, were filed.

One of these was a motion by the Grants seeking summary judgment in their favor and against Sosinsky in No. 223216, against Green in No. 224241, and against Speer in No. 227607. This motion was granted, disposing of all issues between plaintiffs/appellants Sosinsky, Green and Speer, and defendants/respondents the Grants, and leading to one of the judgments (the May 29, 1990, judgment) now being contested in this appeal.

Another was a motion by the three Wright defendants seeking summary judgment in their favor and against Sosinsky in No. 223216, against Green in No. 224241, and against Speer in No. 227607. This motion was granted only as against plaintiff/appellant Speer in No. 227607, and disposed of all issues between plaintiff/appellant Speer and defendants/respondents Harold C. Wright, Brad L. Walter, and Wright & Britton, a partnership (the "Wright defendants") in No. 227607, and led to the other judgment (the July 27, 1990, judgment) now being contested by appellant Speer in this appeal.

Page 555

The third motion was a separate motion by Brad L. Walter, one of the three Wright defendants, for judgment in his favor and against Sosinsky in No. 223216, against Green in No. 224241, and against Speer in No. 227607. This motion was denied. 1 The denial of a motion for summary judgment is not an appealable order (Code of Civ.Proc. § 437c(1)), and the propriety of this ruling is not an issue in this appeal.

6 Cal.App.4th 1555

PART I

DISCUSSION

We will address, separately and individually, the superior court's ruling on the Grants' summary judgment motion and on the Wright defendants' summary judgment motion. First, however, some general principles of law on summary judgment and on malicious prosecution should be reviewed.

In AARTS Productions, Inc. v. Crocker National Bank (1986) 179 Cal.App.3d 1061, 1064-1065, 225 Cal.Rptr. 203, the court described as follows the way in which a motion for summary judgment is properly analyzed:

"Since a summary judgment motion raises only questions of law regarding the construction and effect of the supporting and opposing papers, we independently review them on appeal, applying the same three-step analysis required of the trial court. [Citations.] First, we identify the issues framed by the pleadings since it is these allegations to which the motion must respond by establishing a complete defense or otherwise showing there is no factual basis for relief on any theory reasonably contemplated by the opponent's pleading.... [p] [Second], we determine whether the moving party's...

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  • People v. Sandoval, No. S115872.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court (California)
    • December 24, 2015
    ...discussing judicial notice (Plumley v. Mockett (2008) 164 Cal.App.4th 1031, 1050–1051, 79 Cal.Rptr.3d 822 ; Sosinsky v. Grant (1992) 6 Cal.App.4th 1548, 1568, 8 Cal.Rptr.2d 552 ; U.S. v. Jones (11th Cir.1994) 29 F.3d 1549, 1553 ) and informing a jury of facts found in a judicial opinion (U.......
  • Gerawan Farming, Inc. v. Agric. Labor Relations Bd., F073720
    • United States
    • California Court of Appeals
    • May 30, 2018
    ...findings. (Arce v. Kaiser Foundation Health Plan, Inc . (2010) 181 Cal.App.4th 471, 482, 104 Cal.Rptr.3d 545 ; Sosinsky v. Grant (1992) 6 Cal.App.4th 1548, 1564-1565, 8 Cal.Rptr.2d 552.) On January 22, 2018, the Board affirmed the findings of the administrative law judge in the above-refere......
  • People v. Superior Court (Plascencia), No. B152449.
    • United States
    • California Court of Appeals
    • October 31, 2002
    ...jury."` [Citations.]" (Sheldon Appel, supra, at pp. 877, 881, 884, 254 Cal.Rptr. 336, 765 P.2d 498; see also Sosinsky v. Grant (1992) 6 Cal. App.4th 1548, 1557, 8 Cal.Rptr.2d 552.) In other circumstances as well, it has been held that the jury is to determine the facts underlying the court'......
  • People v. Moore, No. F025271
    • United States
    • California Court of Appeals
    • November 14, 1997
    ...Judicial notice of findings of fact does not mean those findings are true, but simply that they were made. (Sosinsky v. Grant (1992) 6 Cal.App.4th 1548, 1564-1565, 8 Cal.Rptr.2d 552; see Professional Engineers v. Department of Transportation (1997) 15 Cal.4th 543, 590, 63 Cal.Rptr.2d 467, 9......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
201 cases
  • People v. Sandoval, No. S115872.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court (California)
    • December 24, 2015
    ...discussing judicial notice (Plumley v. Mockett (2008) 164 Cal.App.4th 1031, 1050–1051, 79 Cal.Rptr.3d 822 ; Sosinsky v. Grant (1992) 6 Cal.App.4th 1548, 1568, 8 Cal.Rptr.2d 552 ; U.S. v. Jones (11th Cir.1994) 29 F.3d 1549, 1553 ) and informing a jury of facts found in a judicial opinion (U.......
  • Gerawan Farming, Inc. v. Agric. Labor Relations Bd., F073720
    • United States
    • California Court of Appeals
    • May 30, 2018
    ...findings. (Arce v. Kaiser Foundation Health Plan, Inc . (2010) 181 Cal.App.4th 471, 482, 104 Cal.Rptr.3d 545 ; Sosinsky v. Grant (1992) 6 Cal.App.4th 1548, 1564-1565, 8 Cal.Rptr.2d 552.) On January 22, 2018, the Board affirmed the findings of the administrative law judge in the above-refere......
  • People v. Superior Court (Plascencia), No. B152449.
    • United States
    • California Court of Appeals
    • October 31, 2002
    ...jury."` [Citations.]" (Sheldon Appel, supra, at pp. 877, 881, 884, 254 Cal.Rptr. 336, 765 P.2d 498; see also Sosinsky v. Grant (1992) 6 Cal. App.4th 1548, 1557, 8 Cal.Rptr.2d 552.) In other circumstances as well, it has been held that the jury is to determine the facts underlying the court'......
  • People v. Moore, No. F025271
    • United States
    • California Court of Appeals
    • November 14, 1997
    ...Judicial notice of findings of fact does not mean those findings are true, but simply that they were made. (Sosinsky v. Grant (1992) 6 Cal.App.4th 1548, 1564-1565, 8 Cal.Rptr.2d 552; see Professional Engineers v. Department of Transportation (1997) 15 Cal.4th 543, 590, 63 Cal.Rptr.2d 467, 9......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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