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Civil Collateral Estoppel From Criminal Conviction

October 09, 2015

Civil Collateral Estoppel From Criminal Conviction

CaseMs. Bowen, et al v. William E. Arnold, Jr.

Issue:  Does a criminal conviction collaterally estop a civil defendant from a defense on the merits in a civil case regarding the same conduct?

Facts:  Defendant was prosecuted and sued for the same conduct against Plaintiff. After Defendant was convicted in Criminal Court, Plaintiff asserted collateral estoppel should be applied to grant Plaintiff partial summary judgment on liability. Defendant responded that a genuine issue of material fact exists because the Defendant denies abusing Plaintiff. The trial court granted the Plaintiff’s motion, finding that the Plaintiff is in privity with the State. Defendant sought interlocutory appeal.

Appellate Decision:  The Court of Appeals denied Plaintiff’s application for interlocutory appeal and did not issue an opinion.

Review Granted:  September 22, 2015.

Prediction:  The Hotlist will not issue a prediction in the absence of an intermediate court opinion. The Supreme Court’s decision will likely review the validity of the Court of Appeals’s prior decisions on this issue rejecting summary judgment in In re James M. Cannon Family Trust, No. M2011-02660-COA-R3-CV, 2012 Tenn. App. LEXIS 834 (Tenn. Ct. App. Nov. 30, 2012) and Wilkerson v. Leath, 2012 Tenn. App. LEXIS 409, 2012 WL 2361972 (Tenn. Ct. App. June 22, 2012).