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CIV PRO ESSAY OUTLINES ISSUE PRECLUSION
Issue preclusion is a doctrine that prevents a person from relitigating an issue
For the doctrine of issue preclusion to apply, the basic requirements are that:
(1) Issues must have actually been litigated in the earlier lawsuit (2) Issue must have necessarily been decided in the earlier lawsuit (3) Party to be bound must have had a full and fair opportunity to litigate in the earlier lawsuit (4) Mutuality of Estoppel
(1) Actually Been Litigated o The issue was presented at trial o Jury specifically found for a party on the issues
(2) Necessarily Been Decided o Jury found for one party on specific issues in the case o Valid final judgments must be issued by courts with appropriate personal and subject matter jurisdiction o An error does not make a decision invalid o A judgment need not be correct to preclude further litigation
? Sufficient that it be final, and that it have been decided on the merits of the case
(3) Full and Fair Opportunity o Did they have the right to appeal? Did they? Did they o not to?
o Convenient forum?
o Incentive to defend itself vigorously in the underlying action?
? = Not an inconsequential amount
(4) Mutuality of Estoppel o Mutuality =
? Both the party seeking to employ IP and the party against which IP is sought were parties to the prior action o Defensive Issue Preclusion
? Mutuality not required
? D would raise the affirmative defense of issue preclusion against the P
? Used by a new D in a subsequent suit who wants to assert a final judgment on an issue(s) against the plaintiff from the first suit
? D vs. P o Offensive Issue Preclusion
? May be required at court's discretion
? Used by a new P in a subsequent suit who wants to assert a final judgment on an issue(s) against the D from the first suit
?Seeks to prevent D from relitigating issue that D previously litigated and lost Additional criteria must be satisfied when a P seeks to use issue preclusion offensively against a defendant based on the results of a case to which the plaintiff was not a party (non-mutual)
* i.e., as a sword, not a shield5 "Fairness Factors" from Parklane Hosiery: 1) Could the party trying to assert issue preclusion have intervened in the earlier suit?
* If so, no I.P. 2) Did D have incentive to litigate the first action?
3) Are there multiple, prior inconsistent judgments?
4) Did the party who is attempting to assert issue preclusion sit out and wait during earlier suits?
5) Are there any procedural opportunities available to defendant in the second suit that were not available in the first suit?
* Typically does not apply when D was handicapped by procedural disadvantages in the earlier lawsuit
* Whether procedural differences in second action may cause a different result
? Such as being forced to litigate in an inconvenient forum
Final requirement for offensive, non-mutual issue preclusion is that: o Offensive IP typically does not apply when the judgment relied on as a basis for estoppel is inconsistent with other judgments in favor of the defendant
? Did they win previous cases which raised the exact same current issue?
? If there are inconsistencies among these judgments, a court would be unlikely to allow the class action plaintiffs to offensively use the doctrine of issue preclusion
Verdicts Regarding Issue Preclusion o General verdict accompanied by answers to written questions is more efficient than a general verdict, because it allows the parties and/or the court to determine which issues were actually decided in the case. o For example, in a patent infringement case, if the jury renders a general verdict in favor of the D, the parties and the court have no way of knowing whether that defense judgment was based on lack of infringement or patent invalidity. o Therefore, issue preclusion would not apply in future cases, because no one would know which issues had actually been litigated and decided in the initial patent infringement case
Policy o Promote efficiency o Meant to save judicial resources by avoiding the relitigation of issues of fact that have already been actually litigated o Intended to protect defendants from the inequity of having to defend the same issue repeatedly
Claim preclusion prevents a P from "splitting" their her causes of action o i.e., from filing multiple lawsuits against the same defendant arising from the same transaction or occurrence
General rule =
o A P who prosecuted an action against a D and obtained a valid final judgment is not able to initiate another action vs. the same D where: 1) Claim is based on the same transaction that was at issue in the first action 2) P seeks a different remedy, or further remedy, than what was obtained in the first action 3) Claim is of such nature as could have been joined in the first action
Claim preclusion applies when: 1) When the first judgment is valid, final, and on the merits 2) Parties in the second suit must be identical to parties in the first suit 3) Claim made in 2nd suit must involve matters properly considered in the first suit
* Same transaction or occurrence o When does an action arise from the same transaction as a previous action?
? Whether the two actions are based on the same nucleus of operative facts
* Factors: 1) Whether the facts in both cases are related in time, space, origin, or motivation 2) Whether the underlying facts form a convenient trial unit 3) Whether treating the facts (in both cases) as a unit conforms to the parties' expectations
Policy o Assures an efficient judicial system that renders final judgments with certainty o Prevents the inequity of a D having to defend the same claim or issue of law repeatedly o Protects the P's interest in having issues and claims fully and fairly litigated
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