Texas Causes of Action & Affirmative Defenses

Texas Causes of Action & Affirmative Defenses

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Tuesday, January 10, 2017

What is judicial estoppel and what purpose does it serve?


JUDICIAL ESTOPPEL EXPLAINED  

The doctrine of judicial estoppel is designed to protect the integrity of the judicial process by preventing a party from "playing fast and loose with the courts" to suit his own purposes. Bailey-Mason v. Mason, 334 S.W.3d 39, 43 (Tex. App.-Dallas 2008, pet. denied)Webb v. City of Dallas, 211 S.W.3d 808, 820 (Tex. App.-Dallas 2006, pet. denied). Specifically, judicial estoppel bars a party from successfully maintaining a position in one action and then maintaining an inconsistent position in a subsequent action. Pleasant Glade Assembly of God v. Schubert, 264 S.W.3d 1, 6 (Tex. 2008)Mason, 334 S.W.3d at 43. Stated differently, if a party prevails in one action after asserting the truth of one version of the facts, he cannot attempt to prevail in a later proceeding by asserting those same facts are not true. Mason, 334 S.W.3d at 43

ELEMENTS OF JUDICIAL ESTOPPEL 

In Texas, the elements of judicial estoppel are: (1) a sworn, prior inconsistent statement made in a judicial proceeding; (2) which was successfully maintained in the prior proceeding; (3) not made inadvertently or by mistake, or pursuant to fraud or duress; and (4) which is deliberate, clear, and unequivocal. Nine Syllables, LLC v. Evans, No. 05-13-01677-CV, 2015 WL 3932751, at *4 (Tex. App.-Dallas June 26, 2015, no pet.); DeWoody v. Rippley, 951 S.W.2d 935, 944 (Tex. App.-Fort Worth 1997, no writ)

Pursuant to this doctrine, a fact admitted by a prevailing party in a judicial proceeding is established as a matter of law; the admitting party may not in a second proceeding dispute the admission or introduce evidence contrary to it. Schubert, 264 S.W.3d at 6. Judicial estoppel is not, strictly speaking, estoppel; it is actually a rule of procedure that is based on justice and sound public policy. Id.; Mason, 334 S.W.3d at 43. It operates to prevent the use of intentional self-contradiction as a means of obtaining unfair advantage. Schubert, 264 S.W.3d at 6Mason, 334 S.W.3d at 43

SOURCE: DALLAS COURT OF APPEALS - No. 05-14-00874-CV - 8/3/2016  

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