Collateral Estoppel Case Study

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QUESTION PRESENTED
1. In Texas, the doctrine of collateral estoppel bars a party from relitigating issues in a subsequent action if three elements are met: (1) the issues were fully and fairly litigated; (2) the issues were essential to the judgment; and (3) the parties were cast adversaries. Farmers asserts that Abraham is collaterally estopped from relitigating damages in the UIM claim after a jury determined liability and damages against the drivers. Will the doctrine of collateral estoppel bar Abraham from relitigating liability and damages?
SHORT ANSWER
1. Yes. Collateral estoppel will likely bar relitigation of liability and damages in Abraham’s UIM claim because we litigated Brown and the Dump’s liability and damages in the underlying negligence action; the final judgment is based on the jury’s findings; and Abraham was a party in the first suit. Additionally, an insurer is under no contractual duty to pay UIM benefits until the insured obtains a judgment establishing the tortfeasor’s liability and underinsured status.
STATEMENT OF FACTS
Upon an agreed order for severance, the
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This can happen because of the ownership, maintenance or use of your insured car when you travel outside of Oklahoma. We will interpret this policy to provide any broader coverage required by those laws, except to the extent that other liability insurance applies. No person may collect more than once for the same elements of loss.

Under the conditions section on page 11 paragraph 2, “policy terms which conflict with the laws of Oklahoma are hereby amended to conform to such laws.”

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