When Can the Doctrine of Collateral Estoppel Be Evoked ?

In Browning Avenue Realty Corporation v. Rubin, 207 A.D.2d 263, 266, 615 N.Y.S.2d 360 (1st Dept, 1994), the Court affirmed a complaint's dismissal on the basis of a prior dismissal in Federal Court: We agree with defendants, however, that the complaint must be dismissed on collateral estoppel grounds. In order to evoke the doctrine of collateral estoppel, there must be an identity of Issue which was necessarily decided in the prior action and which is decisive of the present action and there must have been a full and fair opportunity to contest the prior determination (Schwartz v. Public Administrator, 24 N.Y.2d 65, 71, 246 N.E.2d 725, 298 N.Y.S.2d 955 (1969)). The party seeking the benefit of collateral estoppel has the burden of demonstrating the identity of the issues in the present litigation and the prior determination, whereas the party attempting to defeat its application has the burden of establishing the absence of a full and fair opportunity to litigate the issue in the prior action (Kaufman v. Eli Lilly & Co., Inc., 65 N.Y.2d 449, 456, 492 N.Y.S.2d 584, 482 N.E.2d 63;see also Ryan v. New York Tel. Co., 62 N.Y.2d 494, 501, 478 N.Y.S.2d 823, 467 N.E.2d 487: Schwartz v. Public Administrator, supra, 24 N.Y.2d at 73). Where, as here, the parties in the State and Federal proceedings are Identical and the merits of the plaintiff's claims were decided by the Federal court after the plaintiff was afforded a full and fair opportunity to litigate, collateral estoppel precludes relitigation of the claims.