Judicial estoppel of debtor’s claims

The defendant in Love v. Tyson Foods complained that an employee’s wrongful discharge claim was barred by judicial estoppel because it was not properly disclosed in the employee’s personal bankruptcy, and the Court agreed, rejecting the employee’s contention that the disclosure issues were inadvertent.  No. 10-60106 (April 4, 2012).  The Court provided a thorough summary of how the Fifth Circuit defines the judicial estoppel doctrine, reminding that because the doctrine protects the judicial system rather than litigants, detrimental reliance is not ordinarily an element.   A detailed dissent criticized the majority for how it addressed the burden of proof and for how it applied the doctrine in the context of broader bankruptcy policies, noting earlier Circuit authority in the area.

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