Collateral Etoppel

Shifer v Shifer, 2018 NY Slip Op 06584 [2d Dept 2018]

Collateral estoppel precludes a party from relitigating in a subsequent action or proceeding an issue clearly raised in a prior action or proceeding and decided against that party or those in privity, whether or not the tribunals or causes of action are the same (see D’Arata v New York Cent. Mut. Fire Ins. Co., 76 NY2d 659; Ryan v New York Tel. Co., 62 NY2d 494, 500; Lozada v GBE Contr. Corp., 295 AD2d 482, 483). It is an equitable principle designed to conserve court resources and prevent conflicting results (see Buechel v Bain, 97 NY2d 295, 303). “[C]ollateral estoppel bars not only parties from a previous action from litigating an issue decided therein, but those in privity with them as well” (Gramatan Home Investors Corp. v Lopez, 46 NY2d 481, 486; see Matter of Borenstein v New York City Employees’ Retirement Sys., 88 NY2d 756). The party to be precluded from relitigating an issue must have had a full and fair opportunity to contest the prior determination. The burden is on the party attempting to defeat the application of collateral estoppel to establish the absence of a full and fair opportunity to litigate (see Buechel v Bain, 97 NY2d at 303; Kaufman v Eli Lilly & Co., 65 NY2d 449, 455-456). As an equitable principle, collateral estoppel should be applied with fairness and flexibility, “grounded in the facts and realities of a particular litigation, rather than rigid rules” (Buechel v Bain, 97 NY2d at 303).

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