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Legal Memorandum: Doctrine of Collateral Estoppel

Issue: When is the doctrine of collateral estoppel properly applied?

Area of Law: Litigation & Procedure
Keywords: Doctrine of collateral estoppel; Application; Full and fair opportunity
Jurisdiction: Virgin Islands
Cited Cases: 402 U.S. 313
Cited Statutes: None
Date: 09/01/2007

There are five prerequisites to application of the doctrine, all of which must be met before the doctrine applies.  Among these is the requirement that the party against whom collateral estoppel is asserted must have had a full and fair opportunity to litigate the issue in the prior adjudication.  Hawksbill Sea Turtle v. Fed. Emergency Mgmt. Agency, 126 F.3d 461, 474, 37 V.I. 526, 529 (3d Cir. 1997) (emphasis added)).  “A party has not had the requisite full and fair opportunity if he or she was unable to present critical evidence in the initial proceeding.”  Snider v. Consolidation Coal Co., 973 F.2d 555, 559 (7th Cir. 1992); see Blonder-Tongue Labs., Inc. v. Univ. Found., 402 U.S. 313, 333 (1971). 

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