The opinion of the court was delivered by: Garland E. Burrell, Jr. United States District Judge
ORDER GRANTING DEFENDANT'S MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT*fn1
Defendant moves for summary judgment under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56 on Plaintiff's breach of contract claim. The motion concerns whether the terms of a settlement agreement entered into between the parties in a Nevada state court proceeding precluded Defendant from subsequently filing a related lawsuit in California state court. Defendant argues they did not; therefore, no breach of contract has occurred. For the reasons stated below, Defendant's summary judgment motion is GRANTED.
A party seeking summary judgment bears the initial burden of demonstrating the absence of a genuine issue of material fact for trial. Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323 (1986). If this burden is satisfied, "the non-moving party must set forth, by affidavit or as otherwise provided in [Federal] Rule [of Civil Procedure] 56, specific facts showing that there is a genuine issue for trial." T.W. Elec. Serv., Inc. v. Pacific Elec. Contractors Ass'n, 809 F.2d 626, 630 (9th Cir. 1987)(quotations and citation omitted)(emphasis omitted). All reasonable inferences that can be drawn from the evidence "must be drawn in favor of the non-moving party." Bryan v. McPherson, 608 F.3d 614, 619 (9th Cir. 2010).
When the defendant is the moving party and is seeking summary judgment on one or more of plaintiff's claims,
"[The defendant] has both the initial burden of production and the ultimate burden of persuasion on [the motion]. In order to carry its burden of production, the [defendant] must either produce evidence negating an essential element of the [plaintiff's claim] or show that the [plaintiff] does not have enough evidence of an essential element to carry its ultimate burden of persuasion at trial. In order to carry its ultimate burden of persuasion on the motion, the [defendant] must persuade the court that there is no genuine issue of material fact."
Nissan Fire & Marine Ins. Co., Ltd. v. Fritz Companies, Inc., 210 F.3d 1099, 1102 (9th Cir. 2000)(citations omitted).
II. REQUEST FOR JUDICIAL NOTICE
Plaintiff requests judicial notice be taken of multiple documents that were filed in Nevada and California state court proceedings between the parties. (Pl.'s Req. for Jud. Notice in Opp. to Mot. for Summ. J. ("RJN"), Ex. A; SUF #3.) Defendant filed a Statement of Non-Opposition to this request.
A district court may take judicial notice of a fact that is "not subject to reasonable dispute" because "it is either (1) generally known within the territorial jurisdiction of the trial court or (2) capable of accurate and ready determination by resort to sources whose accuracy cannot reasonably be questioned." Fed. R. Evid. 201(b). "[P]roceedings in other courts, both within and [outside of] the federal judicial system, if [they] have a direct relation to matters at issue" may be judicially noticed. United States ex rel. Robinson Rancheria Citizens Council v. Boreno, Inc., 971 F.2d 244, 248 (9th Cir. 1992) (taking judicial notice of California Superior Court decision). Since the documents sought to be judicially noticed are directly related to this action, Plaintiff's request for judicial notice is granted.
Defendant obtained a $351,102 judgment for legal malpractice against George Abbott in October of 1991. (Pl.'s Resp. to Def.'s Statement of Undisputed Facts ("SUF") #1.) Defendant registered the judgment in Nevada, but "let it lapse." (Id. 2.) Defendant renewed the judgment in California in 1998, where it remains valid and unsatisfied. (RJN, Ex. A; SUF #3.)
In 2005, George Abbott received $501,267.55 in legal fees from a Nevada probate proceeding, and he assigned those funds to the Abbott Family Trust, of which Plaintiff is the trustee. (Id. 4.) Defendant then commenced an action in Nevada against Plaintiff, George Abbott, and the Abbott Family Trust (the "Abbotts") alleging fraudulent transfer, civil conspiracy, and other claims. (Id. 5.) Defendant moved for summary judgment in the Nevada proceeding, and the Abbotts moved to dismiss the Complaint. (RJN, Ex. D 1:16-23.) The Nevada court granted Defendant's summary judgment motion on his fraudulent transfer claim but declined to order the relief requested since the Nevada state judgment had expired. (Id. 10:16-20; SUF #6.) The Nevada court also granted the Abbott's dismissal motion except as to Defendant's fraudulent transfer and civil conspiracy claims, and held, inter alia: "the cause of action for civil conspiracy and its attendant damages remain the only trial issues in this case." (Id. 9:12-14, 10:21-23.)
After the Nevada court ruled on the parties' respective motions, the parties executed, and the court entered, a "Stipulation for Settlement; Order Thereon" (the "Settlement Agreement"), which was filed on September 14, 2005. (RJN, Ex. E.) ...