This opinion will be unpublished and
may not be cited except as provided by
Minn. Stat. § 480A.08, subd. 3 (2004).
STATE OF MINNESOTA
IN COURT OF APPEALS
Superior National Bank, et al.,
Filed January 2, 2007
Toussaint, Chief Judge
Mark L. Knutson, Agnew Dryer Storaasli Knutson Pommerville, Ltd., 200 Sellwood Building, 202 West Superior Street, Duluth, MN 55802 (for respondents)
U N P U B L I S H E D O P I N I O N
TOUSSAINT, Chief Judge
Appellant Patrick Murphy challenges the summary judgment granted in favor of respondents Superior National Bank and its president Cyrus Gray, Jr. The district court concluded that prior mortgage foreclosure proceedings precluded this action for fraud and breach-of-fiduciary duty against Superior National and Gray. Because Murphy raised and could have fully litigated the issues of fraud and breach-of-fiduciary duty in the foreclosure proceedings, we affirm.
an appeal from summary judgment, the appellate court must determine whether
there are genuine issues of material fact and whether the district court erred
in its application of the law. Cooper
v. French, 460 N.W.2d 2, 4 (
genuine issue for trial exists “[w]here the record taken as a whole could not
lead a rational trier of fact to find for the nonmoving party.” DLH, Inc. v. Russ, 566 N.W.2d 60, 69 (
Superior National Bank foreclosed on Murphy’s mortgages in
The availability of collateral
estoppel is a mixed question of law and fact subject to de novo review. Falgren
v. State, Bd. of Teaching, 545 N.W.2d 901, 905 (
Murphy does not dispute that there was a final judgment on the merits in the prior foreclosure proceedings, that the two actions involved the same parties, or that the same facts gave rise to both actions. Murphy urges this court to reverse the district court’s grant of summary judgment because the issues in the two proceedings were not identical and he did not have a full and fair opportunity to be heard in the foreclosure proceedings.
Murphy’s defense in the Wisconsin foreclosure
proceedings and his claims in this
also argues that he was not afforded a full and fair opportunity to litigate his
claims in the foreclosure proceedings. Whether a party had a full and fair
opportunity to litigate generally focuses on “whether there were significant
procedural limitations in the prior proceeding, whether the party had the
incentive to litigate fully the issue, or whether effective litigation was
limited by the nature or relationship of the parties.” State
v. Joseph, 636 N.W.2d 322, 328 (
Murphy concedes that he had the opportunity to raise the issues of fraud in the previous litigation and failed to do so but argues that he was unable to understand “issues of fraud and breaches of a fiduciary relationship in a highly technical proceeding” brought in a foreign jurisdiction. The record, however, does not demonstrate that Murphy was in any way denied a full and fair opportunity to litigate as a result of significant procedural reasons or that he was limited in any way by his relationship with Superior National Bank and Gray. In Wisconsin, Superior National Bank commenced foreclosure proceedings and filed a complaint against Murphy, putting him on notice of the pending actions, and giving him full and fair opportunity to answer. Murphy submitted a lengthy and detailed answer responding to each paragraph of the complaint, arguing that he had relied on Gray’s allegedly fraudulent assurances that he should use rent payments to improve the properties rather than making timely mortgage payments. The completeness of Murphy’s answer in light of the fairly complex and lengthy complaint shows that Murphy was in no way hindered by lack of understanding of a “highly technical proceeding.” The record is unclear why Murphy did not obtain counsel when proceedings commenced; however, Murphy was an experienced real estate investor who had apparently retained an attorney for other matters prior to the foreclosures, and did, in fact, retain him for this appeal. Therefore, the district court did not err in ruling that Murphy’s claims were barred by res judicata and collateral estoppel and properly granted summary judgment.
Bank and Gray challenged the district court’s denial of attorney fees in their
brief. A party must file a notice of review
to address a district court's ruling on particular issues. If a party fails to file a notice, the issue
is not preserved for appeal.