South-Western Legal Studies in Business

Collateral Estoppel Rule Prevents Re-litigation of Case
Description Appeals court held that a driver, who lost his case against another driver regarding fault in an accident, could not then re-litigate the same matter in a new action against his insurance company. Collateral estoppel prevents fully litigated matters from being re-litigated.
Topic Court Procedure
Key Words Collateral Estoppel; Previous Judgments
C A S E   S U M M A R Y
Facts Fama sued Yi for, he claimed, running a stop sign and causing heavy damage to Fama’s vehicle and bodily injury to Fama. The jury, after hearing testimony from both sides, held for Yi. Fama then sued his insurance company for personal injury protection (PIP) for medical expenses he contends arose from the accident. The trial court granted the insurance company summary judgment. Fama appealed.
Decision

Affirmed. Collateral estoppel applies to this case, which prevents Fama from bringing the same facts to court again. “Collateral estoppel applies if the issue decided in the prior action is identical to the one presented in the subsequent action, if the issue was actually litigated—that is, there was a full and fair opportunity to litigate the issue—in the prior action, if there was a final judgment on the merits, if the prior determinations was essential to the judgment, and if the party against whom preclusion is asserted was a party, or in privity with a party, to the proceeding.”

Citation Fama v. Yi, --- A.2d ---, 2003 WL 179205 (Super. Ct., App. Div., N.J., 2003)

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