Judicial Estoppel in the Second Circuit

From Oneida Ltd. v. PBGC, 2008 Bankr. LEXIS 442 (S.D.N.Y. Bankr. Feb. 27, 2008):

The doctrine of judicial estoppel serves to protect the "integrity of the judicial process" by "prohibiting parties from deliberately changing positions according to the exigencies of the moment." New Hampshire v. Maine, 532 U.S. 742, 749-50, 121 S. Ct. 1808, 149 L. Ed. 2d 968 (2001) (internal citations omitted). The Supreme Court has identified three factors that warrant a finding of judicial estoppel--(i) a party's later position must be "clearly inconsistent" with its earlier position; (ii) the party must have successfully persuaded a court to adopt its earlier position, and adoption of the second, inconsistent position would "create the perception that either the first or second court was misled;" and (iii) it must be found that the party "would derive an unfair advantage or impose an unfair detriment on the opposing party if not estopped." New Hampshire, 532 U.S. at 750-51 (internal citations omitted). As the Supreme Court noted there, "additional considerations may inform the doctrine's application in specific factual contexts." Id. at 751; see also, to the same effect, Zedner v. United States, 547 U.S. 489, 126 S.Ct. 1976, 164 L. Ed. 2d 749 (2006). In this Circuit, the Court of Appeals has emphasized that the doctrine is limited "to situations where the risk of inconsistent results with its impact on judicial integrity is certain." Uzdavines v. Weeks Marine, Inc., 418 F.3d 138, 148, citing Simon v. Safelite Glass Corp., 128 F.3d 68, 72 (2d Cir. 1997). A party seeking to apply judicial estoppel must show both that its opponent has taken an inconsistent position and that a court in an earlier proceeding has adopted this position. See Uzdavines, 418 F.3d at 148 (2d Cir. 2005), citing Stichting v. Schreiber, 407 F.3d 34, 45 (2d Cir. 2005), Rodal v. Anesthesia Group of Onondaga, P.C., 369 F.3d 113, 118 (2d Cir. 2004), Adler v. Pataki, 185 F.3d 35, 41, n. 3 (2d Cir. 1999).

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