Judicial Estoppel

Bihn v Connelly, 2018 NY Slip Op 03956 [2d Dept. 2018]

Under the doctrine of judicial estoppel, also known as estoppel against inconsistent positions, a party may not take a position in a legal proceeding that is contrary to a position he or she took in a prior proceeding, simply because his or her interests have changed (see Festinger v Edrich, 32 AD3d 412, 413; McCaffrey v Schaefer, 251 AD2d 300, 301; Ford Motor Credit Co. v Colonial Funding Corp., 215 AD2d 435, 436). The doctrine applies only where the party secured a judgment in his or her favor in the prior proceeding (see State Farm Mut. Auto. Ins. Co. v Allston, 300 AD2d 669, 670; Tilles Inv. Co. v Town of Oyster Bay, 207 AD2d 393, 394). This doctrine "rests upon the principle that a litigant should not be permitted . . . to lead a court to find a fact one way and then contend in another judicial proceeding that the same fact should be found otherwise'" (Ford Motor Credit Co. v Colonial Funding Corp., 215 AD2d at 436, quoting Environmental Concern v Larchwood Constr. Corp., 101 AD2d 591, 593). "The doctrine is invoked to estop parties from adopting such contrary positions because the judicial system cannot tolerate this playing fast and loose with the courts" (Ford Motor Credit Co. v Colonial Funding Corp., 215 AD2d at 436 [internal quotation marks omitted]).

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