Election of Remedies Doctrine In Texas

The doctrine of "election of remedies" is an affirmative defense that, under certain circumstances, bars a person from pursuing two inconsistent remedies. Medina v. Herrera, 927 S.W.2d 597, 600 (Tex. 1996). In Bocanegra v. Aetna Life Ins. Co., 605 S.W.2d 848, 851 (Tex. 1980), the Supreme Court noted that the election of remedies doctrine combines elements of estoppel, ratification, and unjust enrichment. Although recognizing that the doctrine has been "widely criticized," id. at 850, the Court concluded that it survives in several branches of the law to prohibit inconsistent legal positions that may produce manifest injustice: An election will bar recovery when the inconsistency in the assertion of a remedy, right, or state of facts is so unconscionable, dishonest, contrary to fair dealing, or so stultifies the legal process or trifles with justice or the courts as to be manifestly unjust. Id. at 851. Based upon these principles, the Court fashioned the following test: The election doctrine, therefore, may constitute a bar to relief when: (1) one successfully exercises an informed choice; (2) between two or more remedies, rights, or states of facts; (3) which are so inconsistent as to; (4) constitute manifest injustice. Id.