Tuesday, January 10, 2017

What is judicial estoppel and what purpose does it serve?


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


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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