In re Tomkow

A California state court judgment must be given issue preclusive effect on any issue it decides even if it is affirmed by the state Court of Appeal only on other issues.   Following DiRuzza v. County of Tehama (9th Cir. 2003) 323 F.3d 1147 despite some California Court of Appeal decisions criticizing DiRuzza, this decision holds that affirmance on any ground by a California Court of Appeal makes all of the trial court’s judgment entitled to res judicata and collateral estoppel effect.  So, here, a debt was properly excepted from a bankruptcy discharge based on the res judicata effect of a California state trial court judgment holding the debtor liable for fraud even though the Court of Appeal affirmed the judgment on other grounds without addressing the fraud claim.

Ninth Circuit Bankruptcy Appellate Panel (Taylor, J.); January 5, 2017 (published January 17, 2017); 2017 WL 336611

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