Appeal from the
District Court for Sarpy County: MAX KELCH, Judge.
John P. Grant, Omaha,
of Grant Law Offices, P.C., for appellant.
Jon Bruning, Attorney General, Erin E. Tangeman, George R. Love, Lincoln, and Joel R. Rische, Senior Certified Law Student, for appellee.
Heavican, C.J., Connolly, Stephan, McCormack, Miller-Lerman, and Cassel, JJ.
1. Collateral Estoppel: Appeal and Error.
The applicability of the doctrine of collateral estoppel constitutes a question of law. With regard to such a question, an appellate court is obligated to reach a conclusion independent from the lower court's conclusion.
2. Collateral Estoppel: Words and Phrases.
" Collateral estoppel" means that when an issue of ultimate fact has once been determined by a valid and final judgment, that issue cannot again be litigated between the same parties or their privies in any future lawsuit.
3. Collateral Estoppel.
There are four conditions that must exist for the doctrine of collateral estoppel to apply: (1) The identical issue was decided in a prior action, (2) there was a judgment on the merits which was final, (3) the party against whom the rule is applied was a party or in privy with a party to the prior action, and (4) there was an opportunity to fully and fairly litigate the issue in the prior action.
4. Constitutional Law: Collateral Estoppel: Double Jeopardy.
The doctrine of collateral estoppel is embodied in the 5th Amendment guarantee against double jeopardy and is applicable to the states through the 14th Amendment.
5. Collateral Estoppel: Double Jeopardy.
The fact that collateral estoppel is embodied in double jeopardy does not mean that it is coextensive with the ...