Issue Estoppel Law and Legal Definition
Issue estoppel refers to an issue that has previously been litigated and determined between the same parties or their predecessors in title. The issue must be an essential element of the claim or defense in both proceedings.
Issue estoppel arises when a particular issue forming a necessary ingredient in a cause of action has been litigated and decided, and the same issue is raised in a subsequent proceeding between the same parties involving a different cause of action to which the same issue is relevant and one of the parties seeks to reopen the issue.
Res judicata and issue estoppel are different. Under res judicata, a final judgment on the merits of an action precludes the parties or their privies from relitigating issues that were or could have been raised in that action. However, under issue estoppel, once a court has decided an issue of fact or law necessary to its judgment, that decision may preclude relitigation of the issue in a suit on a different cause of action involving a party to the first case.