Can a Motion to Set Aside Default Be Dismissed Based on Collateral Estoppel ?
In Barker v. Hull (1987) 191 Cal. App. 3d 221, 226, Barker filed a motion to set aside default, supported by his declaration that his attorney told him that the action was not filed against him in his individual capacity, but as a corporate officer.
The matter was continued to allow the parties to obtain a transcript of the default hearing.
Later, it was discovered no transcript existed.
The court then denied the motion to set aside default and the defendant filed a separate action against his attorney, Branson, premised on the same theory asserted in his motion to set aside default.
Branson filed a motion for judgment on the pleadings, arguing that the complaint was barred by collateral estoppel.
The parties requested the court to judicially notice portions of the file in the previous case.
Branson claimed that the action was not barred by collateral estoppel because the fraud issue was not fully developed in the previous action during the default motion hearing.
Branson submitted a supporting declaration stating that there had been no oral testimony presented during the default motion hearing.
The trial court granted judgment on the pleadings and dismissed the case based on collateral estoppel.
The Barker court affirmed the trial court ruling, concluding that "the trial court had sufficient undisputed facts before it, which were appropriate subjects of judicial notice, to support the conclusion that the issues involved were identical and that Barker fully presented the issue in the prior case, was given the opportunity to obtain all available evidence, and that the issue was, therefore, actually litigated and determined in the prior action."