BARRETT, Circuit Judge.
This is an appeal by St. Louis Baptist Temple, Inc. (Temple), a Missouri non-profit corporation, plaintiff below, from a summary judgment granted on the motion of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), a United States corporation, and Harold E. Bray, Sheriff of Jefferson County, Colorado, defendants below.
The FDIC became involved with the "recoupment" of Rocky Mountain National Bank following its closure resulting from insolvency. The FDIC elected to charter a new bank and to place cash into it to purchase "acceptable assets" pursuant to Colorado statutes and subject to the jurisdiction of the District Court of Jefferson County, Colorado. The new bank, Colorado National Bank of Lakewood, received some $3,000,000.00 from FDIC for the "unacceptable assets" which FDIC then undertook to collect. One of the "unacceptable assets" was a note executed by Soldiers of the Cross, Inc. (Soldiers) payable to Rocky Mountain Bank. After FDIC obtained state court judgment on the note against Soldiers, it pursued proceedings to execute upon certain real property in Jefferson County in satisfaction. This resulted in issuance of a Sheriff's Deed to FDIC.
This action originated when Temple filed a complaint, as the alleged successor in title of Soldiers by mesne conveyances, in the District Court in and for the County of Jefferson, State of Colorado, in May, 1978. The complaint alleged, inter-alia, that Temple was the legal and record owner of the real property situate in the County of Jefferson, Colorado, which was the subject of the Sheriff's Sale made in support of execution on the judgment granted FDIC against Soldiers. The suit challenged the validity of the sale by Sheriff Bray to FDIC in satisfaction of a judgment debt of $19,742.52 on the grounds that the property was of the alleged value of $250,000.00 and, further, that the sale was defective inasmuch as the publication of the Notices of Sheriff's Sale were not made in accordance with Colorado statutes and were, accordingly, violative of the Due Process Clause of
FDIC and Bray, hereinafter referred to jointly as appellees, removed the action to the United States District Court for the District of Colorado. Appellees filed Answers followed by Motions and Briefs for Summary Judgment, with attached exhibits. Temple, in turn, filed a Reply Brief in opposition to the Motions for Summary Judgment with attached exhibits. In addition to the exhibits attached to the respective briefs of the parties, certain pertinent exhibits were filed concurrent with the filing of appellees' Reply Brief on October 2, 1978. The relevant exhibits contained in the file, considered by the District Court in granting the Motions for Summary Judgment, together with all of the pleadings and briefs of the parties, are: (a) an annual registration report executed by Bill Beeny, President of St. Louis Baptist Temple, Inc., on January 24, 1974, with the Secretary of State, State of Missouri; (b) Proof of Publication and copy of Publication of Sheriff's Sale of the subject real property by Sheriff Bray upon Writ of Execution aforesaid; (c) Sheriff Bray's Certificate of Purchase dated April 3, 1973, evidencing execution sale held on January 18, 1972, of the subject property to FDIC, as plaintiff, and against Soldiers, defendant, duly recorded; (d) Sheriff Bray's Deed dated April 20, 1973, to FDIC conveying the subject property, duly recorded; (e) The District Court's Memorandum Opinion in Civil No. C-4227, filed June 17, 1976, wherein FDIC was plaintiff and Soldiers of the Cross and Dorothy Goff Memorial Library, Inc., (Goff) non-profit organizations, were defendants; (f) Judgment of the District Court in Civil No. C-4227 in favor of FDIC and against Soldiers and Goff, dated June 18, 1976; (g) Opinion No. 76-1921, filed March 3, 1978, by the United States Circuit Court of Appeals, Tenth Circuit, affirming the District Court's judgment in Civil No. C-4227.
Following a full hearing held November 20, 1978, the District Court granted the motions for summary judgment on the ground that ". . . everything included in it [the case] has been litigated and re-litigated in both the state and federal courts. I think that the United States Court of Appeals spoke rather convincingly last time around, and I rule on the basis of the truism that litigation has to come to an end someday." [R., Vol. I, p. 80].
On appeal, Temple contends that the District Court erred in granting the motions for summary judgment in that: (1) the court went beyond the record in this case and considered records in other and distinct cases involving other parties which were not offered or received in evidence and which did not consider the issues raised here, (2) the court failed to treat the allegations in the complaint regarding the validity of the Sheriff's Sale which can only be decided by trial on the merits, and (3) the court apparently based its action on the grounds of res judicata and/or collateral estoppel, neither of which apply because the validity of the Sheriff's Deed was not raised in prior litigation. Thus, Temple contends that "it is very clear that there are germane issues as to material facts in dispute" rendering summary judgment an inappropriate remedy. [Brief of appellant, p. 8].
Upon review, the appellate court is guided by the principle that summary judgment cannot be granted unless the "pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories, and admissions on file, together with the affidavits, if any, show that there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and that the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law." Fed.Rules Civ. Proc., rule 56(c), 28 U.S.C.A.; Ando v. Great Western Sugar Company, 475 F.2d 531 (10th Cir. 1973). Significantly applicable in this case is the rule that a district court
The doctrine of judicial notice has been utilized, sua sponte, when the defending party's motion for summary judgment is predicated on affirmative defenses such as res judicata or collateral estoppel, as in the case at bar. 6 Moore's Federal Practice, § 56.08, pp. 56-136. The proposition that a court may take judicial notice of its records and files has frequently proved useful in summary judgment proceedings. 6 Moore's Federal Practice, § 56.11; 29 Am.Jur.2d, Evidence, § 14. The scope and reach of the doctrine of judicial notice has been enlarged over the years until today it includes those matters that are verifiable with certainty. 9 Wigmore, Evidence, 3rd Ed., 1940, § 2571; Wright & Miller, Federal Practice and Procedure, Civil, § 2410. Thus, this court has held that a court may, sua sponte, take judicial notice of its own records and preceding records if called to the court's attention by the parties. Ginsberg v. Thomas, 170 F.2d 1 (10th Cir. 1948). Further, it has been held that federal courts, in appropriate circumstances, may take notice of proceedings in other courts, both within and without the federal judicial system, if those proceedings have a direct relation to matters at issue. Chandler v. O'Bryan, supra; United States ex rel. Geisler v. Walters, 510 F.2d 887 (3rd Cir. 1975); Barrett v. Baylor, 457 F.2d 119 (7th Cir. 1972); Rhodes v. Houston, 309 F.2d 959 (8th Cir. 1963), cert. denied, 372 U.S. 909, 83 S.Ct. 724, 9 L.Ed.2d 719 (1962); St. Paul Fire & Marine Insurance Company v. Cunningham, 257 F.2d 731 (9th Cir. 1958).
With the above rules in mind, we turn now to Temple's appellate contentions.
Temple contends that the District Court erred in granting Summary Judgment when the court considered records in other and distinct cases involving other parties which [records] were not offered or received in evidence and which did not reach the issues raised here. The "issues raised" here involve, of course, the alleged invalidity of the Notices and the Sheriff's Sale aforesaid.
The District Court judicially noticed records and documents in Civil Action No. C-4227 filed in its Court entitled Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, a corporation, Plaintiff, v. Soldiers of the Cross and Dorothy Goff Memorial Library, Inc., non-profit organizations, Defendants, and the opinion of this Court in that case on appeal, bearing our No. 76-1921, filed March 3, 1978. From the exhibits in this record reflecting those proceedings, including the District Court's Memorandum Opinion of June 17, 1976, and this Court's opinion of affirmance filed March 3, 1978, together with other exhibits, we determine that
On August 11, 1972, FDIC filed suit against Soldiers and Goff in the Federal District Court for the District of Colorado to set aside a conveyance from Soldiers to Goff of certain real property situate in Jefferson County, State of Colorado. Prior to the filing of the action, FDIC had, on December 9, 1971, obtained a judgment against Soldiers. On the very next day, December 10, 1971, Soldiers recorded a deed conveying the subject real property and other real property situate in Jefferson County, Colorado, to Goff. On August 11, 1972, FDIC filed suit in Civil Action No. C-4227, supra, against both parties, to set aside the conveyance of December 10, 1971, as fraudulent, and to enforce a judgment in the amount of $19,742. This suit was filed subsequent to FDIC's state court proceedings resulting in the judgment of $19,742.00 against Soldiers and state proceedings resulting in the issuance of a Sheriff's Deed to FDIC covering lands referred to as Parcel 2. We pick up the chain at this point by verbatim recital from this Court's unpublished opinion in No. 76-1921, filed March 3, 1978, supra:
[R., Vol. I, pp. 60-61].
Temple's complaint in the instant case acknowledges that its only claim of title is through and by reason of conveyance from Goff dated September 22, 1972, less than one month after FDIC filed Civil Action No. C-4227, supra, against Soldiers and Goff. At all times, according to the District Court's oral findings at the summary judgment hearing "The true plaintiff is Reverend Bill Beeny. He brings lawsuits under assorted names and under the names of assorted grantees." [R., Vol. I, p. 10]. Rev. Bill Beeny subscribed the complaint filed in this action as President of Temple. [R., Vol. I, p. 11]. The District Court's memorandum opinion in Civil Action No. C-4227 indicated clearly that Rev. Bill Beeny was
We reject Temple's contention that the District Court improperly considered records, documents and matters not before it at the hearing on the Motions for Summary Judgment.
We will now consider Temple's contentions (2) and (3) jointly. Temple contends that the District Court erred in (a) failing to properly treat the allegations in its complaint regarding the validity of the Sheriff's Sale and (b) in apparently predicating its Summary Judgment on grounds of res judicata and/or collateral estoppel. Temple argues that the validity of the Sheriff's Sale and Deed was not raised in prior litigation, i. e., the defective publication notices of sale and other defective proceedings including issuance of a Sheriff's Deed before the statutory period of redemption expired. Temple contends that there are genuine issues of material fact yet in dispute which can be resolved only upon trial on the merits. We disagree.
Quite obviously, Temple's only claim of title is through Goff. The prior litigation (Civil No. C-4227, supra) which resulted in affirmance in this court established that Soldiers and Goff were estopped from collaterally attacking both the judgment and the Sheriff's Deed. The same principle applies against Temple.
The related doctrines of res judicata and collateral estoppel apply against Temple.
In Spence v. Latting, 512 F.2d 93 (10th Cir. 1975) cert. denied, 423 U.S. 896, 96 S.Ct. 198, 46 L.Ed.2d 129 (1975), we said:
512 F.2d at p. 98.
In Finnerman v. McCormick, 499 F.2d 212 (10th Cir. 1974), cert. denied, 419 U.S. 1049, 95 S.Ct. 624, 42 L.Ed.2d 644 (1974), we spoke about the doctrines of res judicata and collateral estoppel in relevant part, as follows:
499 F.2d at p. 214.
There is no definition of "privity" which can be automatically applied in all cases involving the doctrines of res judicata and collateral estoppel. Thus, each case must be carefully examined to determine whether the circumstances require its application. This is so, notwithstanding the general assumption that res judicata applies only if the parties in the instant action were the same and identical parties in the prior action resulting in a judgment. Privity requires, at a minimum, a substantial identity between the issues in controversy and showing that the parties in the two actions are really and substantially in interest the same. Sunshine Anthracite Coal Co. v. Adkins, 310 U.S. 381, 60 S.Ct. 907, 84 L.Ed. 1263 (1940); Green v. Bogue, 158 U.S. 478, 15 S.Ct. 975, 39 L.Ed. 1061 (1895). In our
Privity has been found in cases involving a person so identified in interest with another that he represents the same legal right. United States v. California Bridge & Construction Co., 245 U.S. 337, 38 S.Ct. 91, 62 L.Ed. 332 (1917); 69 A.L.R. 849. It has been held that privity exists in relation to subject matter between prior and instant litigation if the parties to the instant litigation claim under the same title. It has been said that:
"Collateral estoppel" is an aspect of res judicata which precludes the relitigation of a fact or issue which was previously determined in a prior suit on a different claim between the same parties or their privies. The doctrine was well stated in Commissioner v. Sunnen, 333 U.S. 591, 68 S.Ct. 715, 92 L.Ed. 898 (1948):
333 U.S. at p. 597, 68 S.Ct. at p. 719.
Pomeroy v. Waitkus, 183 Colo. 344, 517 P.2d 396 (1974) sets forth the following criteria for determining when the doctrine of collateral estoppel applies:
517 P.2d at p. 399.
Speaking of the "parties rule" in relation to the aforesaid doctrines, the following from 1 B Moore's Federal Practice, § 0.411 (2nd Ed. 1974) is, we believe, quite relevant to the instant case:
Id. at pp. 1251-1254.
In the recent opinion entitled Montana v. United States, 440 U.S. 147, 99 S.Ct. 970, 59 L.Ed.2d 210 (1979) the Supreme Court observed:
440 U.S. at 153-162, 99 S.Ct. at 974, 978 (Footnotes omitted).
Thus, we hold that Temple is estopped from litigating its claims advanced in the instant action by virtue of the earlier judgment rendered by the federal District Court