Collateral estoppel

From Academic Kids

Collateral estoppel, also sometimes known as issue preclusion, is a common law estoppel doctrine that prevents a person from relitigating an issue. This is for the prevention of legal harassment and to prevent the abuse of legal resources.

Contents

Issue

Simply stated, when an issue of fact (as opposed to an issue of law) is decided by a fair and impartial arbiter (usually a jury), then the two parties may not relitigate that in the future. The line between fact and law, sometimes, can be artificial. In some cases, issues of law can also be precluded (See Restatement (Second) of Judgments sec. 27 (1980)).

Collateral estoppel does not prevent an appeal of the decision to a higher court, or a party from asking the judge for reargument or a revised decision.

Strategy

Collateral estoppel may be used either defensively or offensively:

  • Defensive
    • Used against the plaintiff regarding issues that were previously litigated against another defendant.
  • Offensive
    • Used by a plaintiff to prevent relitigation by a defendant who lost against another plaintiff on the same issue.

Related concepts

Collateral estoppel is closely related to the concept of claim preclusion, which prevents parties relitigating the same cause of action after it has been decided by a judge or jury. Res judicata (literally - that which has been decided) is sometimes used as the term for both concepts, or purely as a synonym for claim preclusion.

Criminal law

Although it emerged out of civil law, in the United States it has applied to federal criminal law since United States v. Oppenheimer in 1916. In 1970 in Ashe v. Swenson, the United States Supreme Court applied it to double jeopardy to limit prosecution for crimes committed at the same time. Codified at Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, Rule 8(c).ja:争点効

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