Legal Memorandum: Application of Collateral Estoppel

Issue: Under federal law applied in Florida, when does collateral estoppel bar a plaintiff from pursuing an action?

Area of Law: Litigation & Procedure
Keywords: Collateral estoppel; Application
Jurisdiction: Federal, Florida
Cited Cases: 656 So. 2d 906; 470 U.S. 373
Cited Statutes: None
Date: 11/01/2012

Determining whether collateral estoppel applies in a given case requires the court “to refer to the preclusion law of the State in which judgment was rendered.”  Marrese v. Am. Acad. of Orthopaedic Surgeons, 470 U.S. 373, 380 (1985).  Under Florida law, collateral estoppel does not apply unless “the particular matter [was] fully litigated and determined in a contest which results in a final decision of a court of competent jurisdiction” and “the parties and issues [are] identical” to those involved in another proceeding.  Vasquez v. YII Shipping Co. Ltd., 692 F.3d 1192, 1196 (11th Cir. 2012) (quoting Dep’t of Health and Rehabilitative Servs. v. B.J.M., 656 So. 2d 906, 910 (Fla.1995)).  

One party is not “in privity” with a party to the prior litigation unless he or she has “an interest in the action such that she will be bound by the final judgment as if she were a party.”  Stogniew v. McQueen, 656 So. 2d 917, 920 (Fla. 1995). 


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