Defensive collateral estoppel

Defensive collateral estoppel is a type of collateral estoppel (also termed issue preclusion)—the doctrine barring a party from relitigating an issue decided against that party in an earlier action, even if the second action is significantly different from the first. 

Defensive collateral estoppel is asserted by a defendant in a suit to prevent the plaintiff from relitigating an issue previously decided against the plaintiff. The opposite is offensive collateral estoppel, which is when the plaintiff asserts the estoppel.

[Last updated in July of 2021 by the Wex Definitions Team