Collateral Estoppel Doctrine In Illinois Law
The applicability of the collateral estoppel doctrine is a question of law, which this court reviews de novo. Allianz Insurance Co. v. Guidant Corp., 387 Ill. App. 3d 1008, 1022, 900 N.E.2d 1218, 326 Ill. Dec. 971 (2008), citing In re A.W., 231 Ill. 2d 92, 99, 896 N.E.2d 316, 324 Ill. Dec. 530 (2008).
Collateral estoppel precludes a party from relitigating an issue decided in a prior proceeding. Herzog v. Lexington Township, 167 Ill. 2d 288, 294-95, 657 N.E.2d 926, 212 Ill. Dec. 581 (1995), citing Illinois State Chamber of Commerce v. Pollution Control Board 78 Ill. 2d 1, 7, 398 N.E.2d 9, 34 Ill. Dec. 334 (1979).
In Nowak v. St. Rita High School, 197 Ill. 2d 381, 389-90, 757 N.E.2d 471, 258 Ill. Dec. 782 (2001), the Illinois Supreme Court explained the doctrine as follows:
"The doctrine of collateral estoppel applies when a party, or someone in privity with a party, participates in two separate and consecutive cases arising on different causes of action and some controlling fact or question material to the determination of both causes has been adjudicated against that party in the former suit by a court of competent jurisdiction.
The adjudication of the fact or question in the first cause will, if properly presented, be conclusive of the same question in the later suit, but the judgment in the first suit operates as an estoppel only as to the point or question actually litigated and determined and not as to other matters which might have been litigated and determined."
The requirements for the application of the collateral estoppel doctrine are:
(1) the issue decided in the prior adjudication is identical with the one presented in the suit in question;
(2) there was a final judgment on the merits in the prior adjudication;
(3) the party against whom estoppel is asserted was a party or in privy with a party to the prior adjudication. Gumma v. White, 216 Ill. 2d 23, 38, 833 N.E.2d 834, 295 Ill. Dec. 628 (2005), citing Du Page Forklift Service, Inc. v. Material Handling Services, Inc., 195 Ill. 2d 71, 77, 744 N.E.2d 845, 253 Ill. Dec. 112 (2001); American Family Mutual Insurance Co. v. Savickas, 193 Ill. 2d 378, 387, 739 N.E.2d 445, 250 Ill. Dec. 682 (2000); Talarico v. Dunlap, 177 Ill. 2d 185, 191, 685 N.E.2d 325, 226 Ill. Dec. 222 (1997).
"In other words, collateral estoppel or issue preclusion prevents relitigation of an issue between the same parties or their privies in any future lawsuit based on a different claim." 47 Am. Jur. 2d Judgments 487 (2006).
Collateral estoppel applies to questions of law and findings of fact. Du Page Forklift Service, Inc. v. Material Handling Services, Inc., 195 Ill. 2d 71, 79, 744 N.E.2d 845, 253 Ill. Dec. 112 (2001).