This case was last updated from Los Angeles County Superior Courts on 06/18/2019 at 22:23:15 (UTC).

FELIPE GARCIA INGUEZ ET AL VS TED GUERRA

Case Summary

On 10/11/2017 FELIPE GARCIA INGUEZ filed a Personal Injury - Other Personal Injury lawsuit against TED GUERRA. This case was filed in Los Angeles County Superior Courts, Pomona Courthouse South located in Los Angeles, California. The Judges overseeing this case are PETER A. HERNANDEZ and DUKES, ROBERT A.. The case status is Pending - Other Pending.
Case Details Parties Documents Dockets

 

Case Details

  • Case Number:

    ****8788

  • Filing Date:

    10/11/2017

  • Case Status:

    Pending - Other Pending

  • Case Type:

    Personal Injury - Other Personal Injury

  • County, State:

    Los Angeles, California

Judge Details

Presiding Judges

PETER A. HERNANDEZ

DUKES, ROBERT A.

 

Party Details

Plaintiffs and Petitioners

NAJERA MADAI

GARCIA-INGUEZ FELIPE

Respondents and Defendants

GUERRA TED

DOES 1 TO 100

Minors

GARCIA FELIPE JR

GARCIA ADRIANA

GARCIA MADAI

GARCIA JR. FELIPE

GRCIA MADIA

GARCIA TIARA

Guardian Ad Litem and Not Classified By Court

INGUEZ FELIPE GARCIA AND INDIVIDUALLY

Attorney/Law Firm Details

Plaintiff, Petitioner and Minor Attorneys

CHENG PAUL P. ESQ.

CHENG PAUL P. LAW OFFICES OF

Defendant Attorney

GALLO JAMES A. LAW OFFICES OF

 

Court Documents

Civil Case Cover Sheet

10/11/2017: Civil Case Cover Sheet

Complaint

10/11/2017: Complaint

SUMMONS

2/16/2018: SUMMONS

PROOF OF SERVICE SUMMONS

3/7/2018: PROOF OF SERVICE SUMMONS

Minute Order

5/10/2018: Minute Order

Minute Order

5/10/2018: Minute Order

Unknown

5/16/2018: Unknown

Minute Order

6/28/2018: Minute Order

Complaint

7/11/2018: Complaint

Answer

8/10/2018: Answer

Minute Order

8/30/2018: Minute Order

Notice of Ruling

9/12/2018: Notice of Ruling

Notice of Case Reassignment and Order for Plaintiff to Give Notice

10/1/2018: Notice of Case Reassignment and Order for Plaintiff to Give Notice

Notice

10/9/2018: Notice

Unknown

1/29/2019: Unknown

Stipulation and Order

2/5/2019: Stipulation and Order

Motion for Summary Judgment

2/27/2019: Motion for Summary Judgment

Minute Order

3/6/2019: Minute Order

20 More Documents Available

 

Docket Entries

  • 06/10/2019
  • DocketNotice Re: Continuance of Hearing and Order; Filed by Clerk

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  • 06/10/2019
  • DocketNotice Re: Continuance of Hearing and Order; Filed by Clerk

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  • 05/13/2019
  • Docketat 08:30 AM in Department O, Peter A. Hernandez, Presiding; Hearing on Motion for Summary Judgment - Not Held - Rescheduled by Party

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  • 05/09/2019
  • Docketat 08:30 AM in Department O, Peter A. Hernandez, Presiding; Hearing on Motion for Summary Judgment - Not Held - Taken Off Calendar by Party

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  • 04/25/2019
  • DocketStipulation and Order (Stip to continue trial and all related dates, including Discovery cut off); Filed by FELIPE GARCIA-INGUEZ (Plaintiff); MADAI NAJERA (Plaintiff); FELIPE GARCIA JR. (Plaintiff) et al.

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  • 04/16/2019
  • Docketat 08:30 AM in Department O, Peter A. Hernandez, Presiding; Jury Trial - Not Held - Continued - Stipulation

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  • 04/03/2019
  • Docketat 08:30 AM in Department O, Peter A. Hernandez, Presiding; Final Status Conference - Not Held - Continued - Stipulation

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  • 03/27/2019
  • Docketat 08:30 AM in Department O, Peter A. Hernandez, Presiding; Final Status Conference - Not Held - Continued - Court's Motion

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  • 03/14/2019
  • DocketStipulation and Order (STIPULATION TO CONTINUE TRIAL AND ALL RELATED DATES, INCLUDING DISCOVERY CUT~OFF); Filed by TED GUERRA (Defendant)

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  • 03/14/2019
  • DocketEx Parte Application (for order continuing trial); Filed by TED GUERRA (Defendant)

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46 More Docket Entries
  • 11/17/2017
  • DocketNOTICE OF REJECTION - APPLICATION AND ORDER FOR APPOINTMENT OF GUARDIAN AD LITEM

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  • 11/17/2017
  • DocketAPPLICATION AND ORDER FOR APPOINTMENT OF GUARDIAN AD LITEM-CIVIL

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  • 11/17/2017
  • DocketAPPLICATION AND ORDER FOR APPOINTMENT OF GUARDIAN AD LITEM-CIVIL

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  • 11/17/2017
  • DocketApplication ; Filed by Plaintiff/Petitioner

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  • 11/17/2017
  • DocketAPPLICATION AND ORDER FOR APPOINTMENT OF GUARDIAN AD LITEM-CIVIL

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  • 11/17/2017
  • DocketAPPLICATION AND ORDER FOR APPOINTMENT OF GUARDIAN AD LITEM-CIVIL

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  • 10/11/2017
  • DocketComplaint; Filed by FELIPE GARCIA-INGUEZ (Plaintiff); MADAI NAJERA (Plaintiff)

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  • 10/11/2017
  • DocketComplaint Filed

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  • 10/11/2017
  • DocketCOMPLAINT FOR DAMAGES 1. BREACH OF IMPLIED WARRANTY OF HABITABILITY ;ETC

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  • 10/11/2017
  • DocketCivil Case Cover Sheet

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Tentative Rulings

Case Number: ****8788 Hearing Date: March 8, 2022 Dept: O

Counsel for Defendant Ted Guerra’s (i.e., Law Office of James A. Gallo) Motion to Be Relieved as Counsel is GRANTED, effective upon the filing of the proof of service showing service of the signed order upon the Client at the Client’s last known address.

Background

Plaintiffs Felipe Garcia-Inguez, Madai Najera and Felipe Garcia Jr., Tiara Garcia, Madai Garcia and Adriana Garcia, by and through their guardian ad litem, Felipe Garcia-Inguez (“Plaintiffs”) allege as follows:

Plaintiffs were tenants at the property located at 3929 Maple Ave., El Monte, California 91731 (“Property”) from 2011-2017. The Property is owned by Defendant Ted Guerra (“Guerra”). Guerra failed to eradicate certain habitability conditions present at the Property during Plaintiffs’ tenancy and evicted Plaintiffs in retaliation for complaining to the City of El Monte.

On July 11, 2018, Plaintiffs filed a First Amended Complaint, asserting causes of action against Guerra and Does 1-100 for:

1. Breach of Implied Warranty of Habitability

2. Tortious Breach of Implied Warranty of Habitability

3. Negligence

4. Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress

5. Private Nuisance

6. Violation of Civil Code Section 1942.4

7. Violation of Business & Professions Code Section 17200

On May 10, 2018, this case was transferred from Department 3 of the Personal Injury Court to this instant department.

The Final Status Conference is set for September 20, 2022. Trial is set for October 4, 2022.

Discussion

The Law Offices of James A. Gallo (“Firm”) seeks to be relieved as counsel of record for Guerra (“Client”).

The court has discretion to allow an attorney to withdraw, and such a motion should be granted provided that there is no prejudice to the client and it does not disrupt the orderly process of justice. (See Ramirez v. Sturdevant (1994) 21 Cal.App.4th 904, 915; People v. Prince (1968) 268 Cal.App.2d 398.)

California Rule of Court (“CRC”) Rule 3.1362 requires (1) a notice of motion and motion directed to the client (made on the Notice of Motion and Motion to Be Relieved as Counsel—Civil form (MC-051)); (2) a declaration stating in general terms and without compromising the confidentiality of the attorney-client relationship why a motion under Code of Civil Procedure 284(2) is brought instead of filing a consent under section 284(1) (made on the Declaration in Support of Attorney's Motion to Be Relieved as Counsel—Civil form (MC-052)); (3) service of the notice of motion and motion, the declaration, and the proposed order on the client and on all other parties who have appeared in the case; and (4) a proposed order relieving counsel (prepared on the Order Granting Attorney's Motion to Be Relieved as Counsel—Civil form (MC-053)). The court may delay the effective date of the order relieving counsel until proof of service of a copy of the signed order on the client has been filed with the court.

Attorney James A. Gallo (“Gallo”) states in his declaration that “[d]ue to conduct of the client, it is unreasonably difficult for me to carry out the representation effectively, per California Rules of Professional Conduct, Rule 1.16(4).[1] Counsel for defendant is willing to elaborate in camera with the Court. The client has not signed a substitution of attorney, despite being provided one.”

Gallo states that he has personally served the Client with copies of the motion papers filed with his declaration, and that he has confirmed, within the past 30 days that the address is current, by conversation.

The court determines that the requirements of Rules of Court Rule 3.1362 enumerated above have been sufficiently met.

Accordingly, the motion is granted, effective upon the filing of the proof of service reflecting service of the signed order upon the Client at the Client’s last known address.


[1] Rules of Professional Conduct Rule 1.16, subdivision (a)(4) states as follows: “[A] lawyer shall not represent a client or, where representation has commenced, shall withdraw from the representation of a client if: . . . (4) the client discharges the lawyer.”



Case Number: ****8788    Hearing Date: July 13, 2020    Dept: O

Defendant Ted Guerra’s motion for summary judgment and, in the alternative, for summary adjudication, is DENIED.

Introduction

On February 27, 2019, Defendant Ted Guerra (“Defendant”) filed a Motion for Summary Judgment or, in the alternative, for Summary Adjudication on all the causes of action for Breach of Implied Warranty of Habitability, Tortious Breach of Implied Warranty of Habitaiblity, Negligence, Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress, Private Nuisance, Violation of Civil Code section 1942.4, and Violation of Business and Professions Code section 17200 in Plaintiffs Felipe Garcia-Inguez, Madai Najera, Felipe Garcia-Inguez Jr., Tiara Garcia, Madai Garcia, Adriana Garcia’s (collectively the “Plaintiffs”) First Amended Complaint (“FAC”). Plaintiffs filed their Opposition on November 27, 2019, and Defendant filed his Reply on January 8, 2020. The Court held a hearing on July 13, 2020, and took the matter under submission. The Court hereby finds as follows:

Judicial Notice

Judicial notice is taken of Plaintiffs’ Exhibits 6-8, 10, 16, 23-24. (Evid. Code ;; 452, 453.)

Evidentiary Objections

Plaintiffs’ evidentiary objections are overruled.

Legal Standard

A defendant moving for summary judgment/adjudication has met his burden of showing a cause of action has no merit if the defendant can show one or more elements of the plaintiff’s cause of action cannot be established. (CCP ; 437c(p)(2).) “A defendant can satisfy its burden by presenting evidence that negates an element of the cause of action or evidence that the plaintiff does not possess and cannot reasonably expect to obtain evidence needed to support an element of the cause of action.” (Superior Dispatch, Inc. v. Insurance Corp. of New York (2010) 181 Cal.App.4th 175, 186.) The court must liberally construe evidence in support of the party opposing summary judgment and resolve all doubts concerning the evidence in favor of that party. (Dore v. Arnold Worldwide, Inc. (2006) 39 Cal.4th 384, 389.)

The present case involves rental property owned by Defendant. Plaintiffs began renting the property in May 2011. On or about April 17, 2017, Defendant served Plaintiffs a notice to quit. When Plaintiffs failed to move out by the notice date, Defendant filed an unlawful detainer action against Plaintiff Felipe Garcia on July 6, 2017 (Case No. 17UR1611) (the “UD Action”). Shortly after the court entered judgment in the unlawful detainer action, Plaintiffs filed the present case alleging habitability issues with the rental property during their tenancy.

Defendant contends that Plaintiffs are unable to show a triable issue of fact as to all the claims named against him. Of particular global importance to Defendant’s motion is the affirmative defense of collateral estoppel.[1] As previously mentioned, Defendant had filed an unlawful detainer action against Plaintiff Felipe Garcia. Defendant claims that the issues raised in this present unlimited jurisdiction case had already been addressed by that prior UD Action. Thus, the Court will first address the applicability of collateral estoppel’s preclusive effect that a prior unlawful detainer case may have on a subsequent unlimited case. If the Court finds that collateral estoppel would not grant summary judgment, then neither summary judgment nor summary adjudication would be proper. However, if it does find that collateral estoppel is applicable to this case, then it will individually apply the preclusive doctrine to each cause of action.

Res Judicata (Claim Preclusion) Versus Collateral Estoppel (Issue Preclusion)

The doctrine of res judicata precludes parties or their privies from relitigating the same cause of action that has been finally determined by a court of competent jurisdiction. (Brenelli Amedeo, S.P.A. v. Bakara Furniture, Inc. (1994) 29 Cal. App. 4th 1828, 1835 (Brenelli Amedeo).) Res judicata requires: (1) that the issue decided in the prior adjudication is identical with the one presented in the action in question; (2) that there was a final judgment on the merits; and (3) the party against whom the plea is asserted a party to or in privity with a party to the prior adjudication. (Nathanson v. Hecker (2002) 99 Cal. App. 4th 1158, 1162.) Res judicata bars relitigation of matters which could have been raised, but were not. (Busick v. Worker’s Comp. Appeals Bd. (1972) 7 Cal. 3d 967, 975.) Where the affirmative defenses assert the same nucleus of operative facts and raise the same legal issues as those in the underlying action, the defenses are barred under res judicata. (Torrey Pines Bank v. Superior Court (1989) 216 Cal. App. 3d 813, 819-20.)

Thus, the question under res judicata is whether the attempted second litigation involves the same cause of action. (Brenelli Amedeo, supra, 29 Cal. App. 4th at 1835.) A cause of action is conceived as the remedial right in favor of a plaintiff for the violation of one primary right. (Ibid.) If two actions involve the same injury to the plaintiff and the same wrong by the defendant, then the same primary right is at stake even if in the second suit the plaintiff pleads different theories of recovery, seeks different forms of relief and/or adds new facts supporting recovery. (Id. at 1837.) Cases involve distinct and separate primary rights where the injuries and wrongs associated with the two cases differ, regardless of the theories of recovery pleaded. (Ibid.)

Collateral estoppel, similar to res judicata, precludes parties from re-litigating issues finally determined by courts of competent jurisdiction. (Rohrbasser v. Lederer (1986) 179 Cal. App. 3d 290, 296-97.) Thus, collateral estoppel is a distinct aspect of res judicata. (Murray v. Alaska Airlines, Inc. (2010) 50 Cal.4th 860.) Collateral estoppel involves a second action between the same parties on a different cause of action. (Rymer v. Hagler (1989) 211 Cal. App. 3d 1171, 11778.) The first action is not a complete merger or bar, but operates as an estoppel or conclusive adjudication as to such issues in the second action which were actually litigated and determined in the first action. (Ibid.) Collateral estoppel requires: (1) the issue sought to be precluded from relitigation must be identical to that decided in a former proceeding, (2) this issue must have been actually litigated in the former proceeding, (3) it must have been necessarily decided in the former proceeding, (4) the decision in the former proceeding must be final and on the merits, (5) the party against whom preclusion is sought must be the same as, or in privity with, the party to the former proceeding. (Pacific Lumber Co. v. State Water Resources Control Bd. (2006) 37 Cal. 4th 921, 943.) The party asserting collateral estoppel bears the burden of establishing these requirements. (Ibid.)

The Court can take judicial notice of the complaint in a prior action in determining a defense based on res judicata. (Frommhagen v. Board of Supervisors of Santa Cruz County (1987) 197 Cal.App.3d 1292, 1299.) However, Courts cannot take judicial notice of a judge's findings because distinguishably the requirements of res judicata or collateral estoppel must apply pursuant to a final judgment (emphasis added). (Sosinsky v. Grant (1992) 6 Cal.App.4th 1548, 1568-69.)

Defendant asserts in his motion that the issue had already been previous litigated and decided in the prior UD Action. Defendant contends that he had brought an unlawful detainer action. (DSS 6.) Defendant brought this UD Action to gain possession of the property, and for rent beyond the 60 day notice to quit. (Id.) Plaintiffs had asserted the affirmative defenses of breach of warranty of habitability, retaliatory eviction, violation of Civil Code section 1941.1 habitability requirements, and violation of Health and Safety Code section 17920.3 habitability requirements. (DSS 8.) Because Plaintiffs raised these affirmative defenses in response to Defendant’s unlawful detainer action for possession of the property, there are no identical claims for the principle of res judicata to apply. However, the principle of collateral estoppel (i.e., issue preclusion) applies.

Legal Standard for Collateral Estoppel on Prior Unlawful Detainer Case

Because of the limited scope of an unlawful detainer action, a judgment in unlawful detainer usually has very limited preclusive effect and will not prevent one who is dispossessed from bringing a subsequent action to resolve questions of title, or to adjudicate other legal and equitable claims between the parties. (Vella v. Hudgins (1977) 20 Cal.3d 251.) Because a tenant in an unlawful detainer action can never cross-complain for damages, they cannot be barred by res judicata or even collateral estoppel for filing a subsequent claim for damages on an issue already litigated in the unlawful detainer action. (See Martin-Bragg v. Moor (2013) 219 Cal.App.4th 367; Banuelos v. LA Investment, LLC (2013) 219 Cal.App.4th 323, 333; Landeros v. Pankey (1995) 39 Cal.App.4th 1167, 1173-74.) In fact, it is long held that cross-complaints and affirmative defenses, legal or equitable, are only permissible in an unlawful detainer action insofar as they would, if successful, “preclude removal of the tenant from the premises.” (Green v. Superior Court (1974) 10 Cal.3d 616, 634.) Thus, merely because a subsequent case raises the same issues as an unlawful detainer case does not necessarily mean the issue was necessarily decided. Instead, the court must look to whether the parties had a fair adversary hearing on the very issue raised in the subsequent litigation.

Applicability of Collateral Estoppel in Present Case

Again, the elements of collateral estoppel are: (1) the issue sought to be precluded from relitigation must be identical to that decided in a former proceeding, (2) this issue must have been actually litigated in the former proceeding, (3) it must have been necessarily decided in the former proceeding, (4) the decision in the former proceeding must be final and on the merits, (5) the party against whom preclusion is sought must be the same as, or in privity with, the party to the former proceeding. (Pacific Lumber Co. v. State Water Resources Control Bd., supra, 37 Cal. 4th at 943.)

With respect to the unlawful detainer case, there arguably was a final judgment on the merits. (Undisputed DSS 13.) As Defendant points out, a bench trial was held on August 7, 2017 in the UD Action. (DSS 10.) Judge Sanford Rogers, the judge in that litigation, found for Defendant after the trial. (Undisputed DSS 12.) Presumably Judge Rogers, who was the judge in that litigation, based his decision on the merits of Defendant’s case. That judgment became final when the court entered judgment on August 9, 2017. (Undisputed DSS 13.) While Plaintiff contends that the trial in the UD Action merely lasted 5 minutes (Disputed DSS 10), Plaintiff presents no facts to show that this short trial was not based on admissible facts or that Judge Rodgers’s decision was not based on the merits of Defendant’s case. Thus, there was a final judgment on the merits in the UD Action.

Furthermore, Plaintiffs are in privity with a party to the prior adjudication. Plaintiff Felipe Garcia-Inguez was named a defendant in the UD Action. (Undisputed DSS 6.) He is now a plaintiff in this present litigation. (DSS 14.) While certainly there are far more plaintiffs named in this case than in the UD Action, this difference is immaterial for the purposes of analyzing whether the parties were in privity. Plaintiff Felipe Garcia-Inguez, who was named as the Defendant in the UD Action, is the father of the minor plaintiffs Felipe Garcia-Inguez Jr., Tiara Garcia, Madai Garcia, and Adriana Garcia in this case. (See DSS 15, Exhibit 1.) He is also the husband of Plaintiff Madai Najera. (Id.) These familial relationships that Plaintiff Felipe Garcia-Inguez has with the other plaintiffs puts the other plaintiffs in privity with Plaintiff Felipe Garcia-Inguez. Thus, privity with the party to the former action exists in this present litigation.

However, the issue decided in the unlawful detainer case is not identical to the one presented in this current action. In the unlawful detainer case, the issue was that of possession and holdover rent. (Undisputed DSS 12.) Here in the present case, the issue is that of Defendant’s alleged breach of his duties to Plaintiffs as their landlord. (DSS 15.) Plaintiffs assert in the present case that the property they rented from Defendant had numerous habitability issues. (DSS 14-15.) This is a separate and distinct issue from whether Plaintiffs could maintain possession of the property after they had been served with a notice to quit. Thus, Defendant has not shown facts that the prior action had identical issues to the current litigation.

Furthermore, it is unclear from the facts presented by Defendant whether the issue of habitability was necessarily decided in the prior action. In the prior UD Action, the court seemed to have based its judgment entirely on whether Defendant could regain possession of the property. (See DSS 10-12, Exhibits 9-11.) Furthermore, the Court sees no factual finding by Judge Rogers as to Plaintiffs’ affirmative defense as either part of the court’s minutes or ruling. (Undisputed DSS 11-12, Ex. 9, 11.) This Court therefore cannot find that the issue of habitability was even necessarily decided.

Also problematic is that Plaintiffs were not allowed to file a cross-claim regarding the issues it now seeks as damages. In other words, Plaintiffs did not even have the opportunity to actually litigate these claims of habitability issues as a cause of action for damages against Defendant. Plaintiffs were only permitted to use these claims defensively in the UD Action because tenants generally cannot file a cross-complaint in an unlawful detainer action. (See Martin-Bragg v. Moor, supra, 219 Cal.App.4th 367; Banuelos v. LA Investment, LLC, supra, 219 Cal.App.4th at 333; Landeros v. Pankey, supra, 39 Cal.App.4th at 1173-74) Plaintiffs used the affirmative defenses that share the same name as the present causes of action insofar as to only determine any offset of holdover rent; these affirmative defenses were raised in Plaintiffs’ answer to the unlawful detainer complaint. (DSS 8.) Thus, the present case and unlawful detainer case are not based on the same primary right for the doctrine of collateral estoppel to apply because Plaintiffs never had the opportunity to actual litigate their claims of habitability in the UD Action.

In sum, collateral estoppel would not apply in precluding litigation of this current action. Defendant has not demonstrated facts to show that Plaintiffs should be precluded from litigating the issues of habitability. Summary judgment would be improper here as Defendant has not demonstrated the lack of dispute over the material facts.

Thus, Summary Judgment is DENIED.

Summary Adjudication of the Individual Causes of Action

Because Defendant’s sole argument for summary adjudication of the individual causes of action relies on the applicability of the preclusive effects of the UD Action on this present litigation, the Court cannot also grant summary adjudication as to Defendant’s Issues 1-7.

Summary Adjudication is also DENIED.


[1] The Court understands that the concepts of res judicata and collateral estoppel are frequently used interchangeably by litigants, despite being separate (though related) principles of preclusion. To that end, the Court will address both res judicata and collateral estoppel.



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